Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

How the Islanders look ahead of their game against the Sharks, their first since Friday.

Leen Amin

This season has been a wild and brutal one for the New York Islanders.

They were incredibly disappointing for the first few weeks, didn’t play their first home game until the end of November, and then were absolutely bombarded by a COVID-19 outbreak as well as huge injuries to some of their most important players before being shut down for about a week.

The Islanders will resume their schedule on Thursday night against an impressive and dangerous San Jose Sharks team.

The Islanders are currently last in their division and are on a league-worst eight-game losing streak.

The good news is that they’ve gotten some key players back. Captain Anders Lee, veteran RW Josh Bailey, veteran LHD Andy Greene, and their best defenseman, Adam Pelech, will all be returning to the lineup and several other guys are very close.

This is big for the Islanders, who are going to need all hands on deck as they look to salvage their season.

The Islanders could be in relatively good shape because they still are one of the best defensive teams in the league and the Sharks are below-average offensively, although they are coming off a dominant 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils.

The Islanders also have superior goaltending. The key to this to game will definitely be scoring: the Islanders will need to put their struggles in the opposing zone aside and figure something out if they hope to emerge victorious.

Sharks players to watch:

RHD Erik Karlsson

This season: 16 GP, 4 G, 12 PTS
Career vs. NYI: 28 GP, 6 G, 22 PTS

RW Timo Meier

Last 5 games: 5 G, 7 PTS
This season: 17 GP, 11 G, 22 PTS

C Logan Couture

Last 5 games: 1 G, 5 PTS
This season: 21 GP, 7 G, 19 PTS
Career vs. NYI: 13 GP, 7 G, 10 PTS

C Tomáš Hertl

Career vs. NYI: 10 GP, 3 G, 8 PTS

RHD Brent Burns

Career vs. NYI: 20 GP, 6 G, 15 PTS

Islanders players to watch:

C Anders Lee

Career vs. SJS: 12 GP, 10 G, 14 PTS

LW Zach Parise

Career vs. SJS: 33 GP, 14 G, 28 PTS

G Ilya Sorokin

This season: 13 GP, .928 SV%, 2.44 GAA

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.