Islanders keep Red Wings reeling
The Detroit Red Wings had just enough time to salvage a point. They still haven't figured out how to make the most of overtime.
Pavel Datsyuk, in his 800th NHL game, scored his second goal of the night with 42.5 seconds left in regulation, but the Red Wings couldn't turn it into a win as they were beaten 5-4 by the New York Islanders in a shootout on Saturday night.
The Red Wings have lost six straight overall, five in a row in extra time, and three consecutive in shootouts -- including two on back-to-back nights.
"If we hadn't gone through the last five, six games, this point would be pretty good," forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "Right now it's tough. We can't find a way to win a game. I think we battled hard. It was a back-to-back game and we found a way to come back at the end.
"Overall, I think it's a good point, but we were right there to get two points."
The Red Wings arrived in New York around 2 a.m. Saturday after losing at home to Washington on Friday. Detroit is 1-7 after regulation this season, 0-4 in shootouts.
"We found a way to get a point," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We obviously have to get better. We will get better. It's pretty obvious we've got to win in regulation because the shootout is killing us.
"It's like anything in life, it gets in your head a little bit. To me we've got to be hard-headed and mentally tough. The standings could be a lot different for us if we won all these games, especially these shootouts."
Kevin Poulin was the difference for the Islanders after he replaced the injured Evgeni Nabokov in the first period. Neither team could hold the lead until he finally shut the door in the tiebreaker, denying Henrik Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi.
"I love this," Poulin said. "I was not nervous in the shootout, was pretty excited actually. I felt comfortable. You have to be ready to jump in. That's why I play hockey."
Frans Nielsen scored the only shootout goal for the Islanders, who had dropped five of six.
"Kevin really stepped up for us," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "We kept calm and it paid off in the end."
Cal Clutterbuck had given the Islanders a 4-3 lead when he had the second deflection of Aaron Ness' shot from the left point past Gustavsson 4:43 into the third for his second goal.
The Islanders are 6-0-1 against Detroit in the past seven meetings and haven't been beaten by the Red Wings in regulation since November 2003.
New York outshot Detroit 15-4 in the third period and 6-1 in overtime.
Tavares had a goal and assist to stretch his point and assist streaks to five games. Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson both scored tying goals in the second period for the Islanders. Poulin made 19 saves in relief of Nabokov, who injured a groin.
Darren Helm and Johan Franzen had the other goals for the Red Wings, and Gustavsson stopped 37 shots through overtime in his first outing in place of Jimmy Howard since Oct. 23.
Both teams were held at bay throughout most of the second period, but then combined for three goals in a span of 1:20 in the final three minutes of the frame.
The Islanders got even 2-2 when the Red Wings poorly played a rush into their zone. Matt Martin carried the puck deep and fanned on a shot, but Colin McDonald got his stick on the puck and put it on Gustavsson. Cizikas got to that rebound and scored his second of the season and second in two games with 2:10 remaining.
But for the second time, Islanders fans barely had a chance to celebrate before the Red Wings responded.
Helm brought the puck into the New York zone and fed a pass to Franzen on the left wing. Franzen glided from the circle into the middle of the ice and snapped a drive past Poulin just 33 seconds later.
This time it was the Islanders turn to answer quickly, and they did it 20 seconds into Luke Glendening's tripping penalty. Nelson scored with a second poke with 49.5 seconds remaining.
The Red Wings wiped out their early 1-0 deficit just nine seconds after they fell behind, and knocked out Nabokov in the process.
Helm won a faceoff against Tavares, right after the Islanders captain put New York in front at 4:03 with his ninth goal. The Red Wings controlled the puck in their zone until defenseman Jonathan Ericsson found Helm with a long lead pass that led to a breakaway.
Helm came in on Nabokov, made a move that caused the goalie to do a split, and scored his second of the season at 4:12 to tie it 1-1.
The 38-year-old Nabokov was playing for the first time in four games and the second in six. He was assisted by a trainer in the crease before getting up on his skates and gingerly skating while hunched over to the tunnel leading to the dressing room.
Nabokov came into Saturday with a 5-5-3 record and 3.24 goals-against average.
"He means a lot to this team, all of us," Tavares said. "Not everyone knows how much he does for us in this room. He's important."
Datsyuk made it 2-1 with 1:42 left in the first period, scoring a power-play goal with Bertuzzi screening Poulin in front. The Toronto Maple Leafs are now the only team Datsyuk hasn't scored a goal against.
NOTES: The Red Wings recalled Glendening from Grand Rapids (AHL) to fill in for forward Daniel Alfredsson, who missed his second straight game because of a groin injury. ... The Islanders failed to score on a 4-minute power play that spanned the second and third periods after Franzen was called for high-sticking.