Islanders host rested Red Wings
NEW YORK — Two teams hoping to parlay some schedule certainty into sustained winning streaks will meet Tuesday night when the New York Islanders host the Detroit Red Wings at Barclays Center.
Both squads enter Tuesday having enjoyed multiple days off since winning their most recent game. The Islanders overcame a two-goal first period deficit Saturday night to outlast the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime. The Red Wings played their final home game before Christmas on Friday, when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1.
For the Islanders (18-12-3), the win snapped a two-game losing streak and provided an encouraging start to a five-game homestand that bookends the NHL’s holiday break. New York, which has won just three of its last nine games (3-5-1), took its first lead against the Kings on Anders Lee’s goal with 3:16 remaining in regulation and survived a goal by Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar with 13 seconds left in the third to earn the win on Jordan Eberle’s tally 1:54 into overtime.
“This is a huge win for us,” Islanders head coach Doug Weight said afterwards. “The fashion we were able to do it, a little emotion coming back from an early deficit. You can carry this. Momentum goes so far, but this is a good feeling and we’ve got three home games coming up before Christmas.”
The Islanders, who host the Anaheim Ducks (Thursday) and Winnipeg Jets (Saturday) before returning from the Christmas break for a date with the Buffalo Sabres (Dec. 27), will enter Tuesday tied with the New York Rangers for the two Eastern Conference wild card spots.
“I know as of late, it hasn’t been the greatest, but we have a bit of a homestand here and we’ve played really well at home,” Eberle said. “So we need to gather as many points as we can and start rolling. We’ve got, I believe, three more games until Christmas and we need six points.”
The victory Friday by the Red Wings (12-13-7) snapped a three-game losing streak (0-1-2) and was just their second in the last 10 games (2-4-4). Detroit needed the spark heading out on an east coast road trip in which it will visit the Philadelphia Flyers (Wednesday) and Boston Bruins (Saturday) before Christmas and the New Jersey Devils (Dec. 27) following the holiday.
“I do think, especially as you get close to the Christmas holiday, it can be a little bit of an advantage to get on the road and just have that bunker mentality and away from some of the commitments you have when you’re at home,” Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill told the team’s website.
A point-filled road trip is a near-necessity for the Red Wings, who fell six points behind the third-place Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division with the Bruins’ 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
“It was a good win against Toronto and we want to continue the things we’re doing well,” Red Wings left winger Justin Abdelkader told the team’s website. “We want to start to bank away some more points and get back up in the playoff race.”