Islanders-Red Wings Preview
The Detroit Red Wings' most recent win came against the New York Islanders in their final game before the All-Star break. Back-to-back road losses followed, but the start of a five-game homestand might not provide much relief.
Detroit has dropped five in a row at Joe Louis Arena and looks to avoid its longest skid there in two seasons in Saturday's rematch with the Islanders.
Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser scored in a 1:11 span of the second period to lead the Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over New York on Jan. 25. Detroit (25-18-8) was then outscored 9-4 in back-to-back games in Florida.
They allowed their most goals this season in a 6-3 defeat to the Panthers on Thursday. Jimmy Howard gave up five - three in the first 11:06 - to give him an 0-4-3 record and 3.93 goals-against average in his last eight starts.
Detroit has allowed four goals on seven power plays in its two defeats after killing off 25 of 28 penalties in its previous 10 games.
"We've just got to keep grinding," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We've got a big game against the Islanders on Saturday. ... We've been in these playoff-type games the whole year. It's going to continue to be like this for the last 30 games. We have to buckle in and be ready to grind it out every day."
Petr Mrazek was in goal for a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday and is expected to return to the net Saturday. He stopped 27 shots Jan. 25.
New York (26-17-6) has split its two games since the All-Star break, topping Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday and losing 3-2 at Washington on Thursday.
The Islanders allowed Alex Ovechkin's go-ahead goal with 2:40 remaining in their third loss in four road games, but defenseman Thomas Hickey was pleased with his team's showing.
"I thought we had a really good effort and most nights that's going to win you a lot of games against any team and sometimes it's going to beat them, but just not quite enough," he told the team's official website. "We can be proud of our effort."
The Islanders will try to bounce back by sending the Red Wings to their first six-game losing streak at Joe Louis since an 0-2-6 skid Oct. 21-Nov. 19, 2013.
Detroit had dropped five consecutive home games against New York before a 4-1 victory Jan. 31, 2015. The Red Wings were outshot 23-19 but Mrazek shined in net.
Tomas Tatar scored the opening goal in that game and has two goals and two assists in his last four against the Islanders. Tatar has three assists in his past four contests but is in the midst of a seven-game goal drought.
Islanders forward Brock Nelson has recorded three goals and two assists in his last four games against Detroit. He has seven goals and three assists in his past 10 contests.
New York has killed off 27 of 29 penalties in its last nine games but the Red Wings have scored on four of their last eight power plays in the series. The Islanders have gone 9 for 29 with a man advantage in their past 10 meetings with Detroit.