Islanders use 3-goal 1st period to blank Red Wings

Holding onto leads late in games has been an issue for the New

York Islanders this season.

However, it wasn’t a problem on Monday night.

Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves for his 56th career shutout in the

New York Islanders’ 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday

night.

The Islanders scored all of their goals in the first period.

”We just wanted to stick with it and keep playing and not think

about the things that could happen,” said captain John Tavares,

who had an assist.

Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Casey Cizikas scored for New York.

The Islanders have only won three of their past 17 (3-10-4) and it

was Nabokov’s first shutout of the season.

”I thought we had an extra gear tonight. They might have come

out flat, but we did a good job to get on `em,” Okposo said.

Petr Mrazek stopped 16 shots for Detroit.

”I thought our intensity in the first period wasn’t good

enough. They scored on their shots and I don’t think we did much.

They didn’t do much either, but they scored,” Red Wings coach Mike

Babcock said.

”The bottom line is we played catch-up all night long. I

thought we made it easy on their team. We never got in on their D,

we weren’t physical like we have been, or heavy in the offensive

zone.”

Okposo opened the scoring with 9:03 left in the first when he

put a cross-crease pass into the empty-side of the net off the rush

for his 12th goal.

Grabner got his fifth goal, with 4:53 remaining in the opening

period, when his shot from the left circle deflected off the stick

of Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith. Cizikas made it 3-0, with 3:05

left in the first period, when he put in a one-time shot from in

front of the net. It was Cizikas’ fourth goal.

”I thought our guys started on time. We got the three goals,

but we did some good things out there,” Islanders coach Jack

Capuano said. ”We battled … In the end, it’s the will to compete

and I thought we did.”

Tavares hit the post less than 30 seconds into the second

period.

Patrick Eaves hit the crossbar and Gustav Nyquist hit the post

for Detroit early in the third period.

NOTES: Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson went to the

dressing room during the second period with an upper-body injury

and did not return. Babcock said Ericsson had been taken to the

hospital and his condition will be updated Tuesday or Wednesday.

… Petr Mrazek started in goal for Detroit after Jonas Gustavsson

came up with a tender groin and sat out as a precaution. … The

Islanders hadn’t played in Detroit in nearly three years. Their

last game at Joe Louis Arena was Dec. 31, 2010. … Red Wings’ RW

Gustav Nyquist returned after missing three games with a groin

injury. … New York LW Matt Martin is from Windsor, Ontario, which

is across the Detroit River from Detroit. … Detroit C Stephen

Weiss had sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia on Monday morning.

He is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks and the Red Wings are aiming

for him to be back after the Olympic break, which is Feb. 9-25. …

A power outage in downtown Detroit forced the Red Wings to have

their pre-game skate on Monday morning in a partially-lighted Joe

Louis Arena.