The Detroit Wings came in losers of five straight and in desperate need of some good hockey. The New York Islanders came in on a roll after firing Jack Capuano with Doug Weight. A back and forth game got crazy in the end as the Islanders scored with just over two minutes remaining to tie the game up and Dan DeKeyser would score off a set faceoff play with 29 seconds left to snap the losing streak and give the Red Wings a 5-4 victory.
Out of the gate the Red Wings showed more jump as they forced the play into the Islanders zone, created a turnover and Tomas Tatar got a quality shot on goal just 20 seconds into the game. Unfortunately the early game gaffes continued for them as shortly after Mike Green fanned on the puck at the blue line and got out muscled by Anders Lee down the ice. Lee would drop it back to John Tavares who would throw it over to Josh Bailey who buried it into a yawning Red Wings net for a 1-0 Islanders lead. Things opened up for the next few minutes as both teams used their speed on offense and defense. Gustav Nyquist had the best chance in that time as he created a turnover at center ice and came in one on one but was unable to really get a good shot off. The work would pay off later as Riley Sheahan did a good job holding the puck in the zone and getting it below the goal line to Abdelkader who came out the other side, threw it up to Jonathan Ericsson who fired a shot that was deflected well out front of Tomas Greiss by Luke Glendening for a 1-1 tie. The lead would not last long as just over a minute later Andrew Ladd threw a relatively harmless shot on goal that somehow avoid Mrazek and finds the back of the net for a 2-1 Islanders lead. Things started to get a little sloppy as Frans Nielsen would get called for holding. Early into the Islanders power play Ryan Strome would cross check Ericsson into the boards negating the power play. The very short Red Wings power play on the end would result in another penalty as Abdelkader would be called for goalie interference. While it was legit goalie interference I still feel like Greiss went down a little easily. Fortunately, nothing would come of this power play for New York either. Shortly after getting out of the box, Abdelkader tried to hit an Islander on the rush but got side stepped and laid a hard hit on Henrik Zetterberg instead. The Wings would find a little sustained pressure towards the end but Kronwall’s butt got In the way of Tomas Hickey and got all of Kronwall called for interference. The penalty and rest of the period would end harmlessly 2-1 Islanders.
The second period began with more back and forth action. Sheahan made a perfect saucer pass to Glendening on a two on one but Luke was unable to settle the puck on his forehand enough to get a good shot off. Tatar had another good scoring chance shortly after as he found a rebound off a Frans Nielsen shot but was too close to the goalie to do anything really dangerous with it. The weak penalties against the Red Wings continued as Dylan Larkin essentially touched Denis Seidenberg’s shoulder with his hand and was called for holding. The Red Wings had a strong penalty kill that they followed up with a great shift in the Islanders zone where they were able to keep the puck in for over a minute, thanks in part to a great play by Nyquist along the boards to keep the puck in despite being hooked and not getting the call. Eventually the Islanders were forced to ice the puck and that would come back to bite them because the tough puck possession for the Wings continued at the blue line and then below the goal line until Tatar stepped out to the far side and found Darren Helm cross ice who buried the puck into an open net for a 2-2 tie. Two minutes later the Red Wings made it 3-2 when Anthony Mantha used his long reach to keep a puck in the zone and played give and go with Tatar down low before slotting the puck past Greiss. Frans Nielsen almost made it 4-2 but he put his backhander off the cross bar before being checked into the goalie and somehow being called for goalie interference. Of course, as the Wings luck has gone this season, New York would tie the game up as Tavares found himself all alone at the side of the net and put the feed from behind the goal in. The Red Wings would answer right back as Gustav Nyquist, who had a very strong game, drove wide past Seidenberg, sucked the rest of the Islanders to him and threw the puck back into the slot to a wide open Zetterberg who went high blocker side for a 4-3 Red Wings lead that they would take into the dressing room.
No Frans Nielsen in the third as it was announced he was out for the rest of the game with an upper body injury. The Red Wings appeared to be in half shutdown mode early on and there really was not much beyond a Bailey deflection that just missed the far corner. With just under six minutes left in the game Brock Nelson took a penalty and the Red Wings go on the power play. It was about as you would expect from a Red Wings power play this season but it did succeed in taking two minutes off the clock. Unfortunately there was still time left after the power play and a harmless play behind the net resulted in a tie game when Helm was unable to corral a puck in his skates by the net, Jason Chimera chipped it up and somehow it finds space between Mrazek and the near post. The Red Wings challenged for offsides but the goal is upheld. Just as it looked like the game was heading to overtime, Henrik Zetterberg won a draw back to Dan DeKeyser who pushed up along the near boards and pinballed a shot in off two Islanders with 29 seconds left for the game winner.
Petr Mrazek made some key saves early on in the second period to keep the Wings within a goal. That said he still does not look confident or comfortable in the net. Some of that I hope is rust as he has not played a lot lately but he is still trying to battle himself and the puck.
Gustav Nyquist has quietly become a very good puck hound and thief.
As nice as it is to win in regulation again the Red Wings were dominated in the shots of goal department. Some of that was the Islanders pushing in the third period to try and tie the game up but some of it was the Red Wings still having issues getting their shots on net. I realize that in this day of giant goalies you have to be very fine with your aim but I wish they would play more shots along the ice in order to create more rebounds.