Motown Funk: Red Wings Downed At Home By Islanders Again By 2-1 Score


The Detroit Red Wings have to be hoping that the Islanders move to Brooklyn and change their name, like, tomorrow. Because as the New York Islanders, they have absolutely owned the Red Wings in Detroit in recent years.

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Nothing was different Friday night at Joe Louis Arena. Despite captain Henrik Zetterberg breaking out of one of the longest goal-scoring droughts of his career, the Red Wings were stymied by what has been one of the poorer defensive teams in the NHL, allowing the Islanders to escape with their fifth straight win at the Joe by a 2-1 score.

Both New York goals were ones the Detroit goalies would probably like to have back — and yes that’s goalies, because both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek allowed one. Howard got the start and was making the tough saves in the first period, but his inability to smother a rebound in front of him, along with Jonathan Ericsson‘s failure to corral his man, allowed Brock Nelson to skate by and poke the puck through Howard’s legs for his team-leading 14th goal of the season for the visitors.

That came with 3:57 left in the first, cancelling Zetterberg’s sixth of the season, which resulted from an excellent play by Darren Helm to hold the puck in the offensive zone and wait for new forwards to come from a line change. He found the captain in the left circle to rifle it home past Jaroslav Halak for his first goal in 11 games.

Halak wouldn’t give up another goal, though the Red Wings did little to test him with only 18 shots on the game. Meanwhile, Howard did not return after the first intermission, with the word that it was a precautionary move due to a lower body injury. Mrazek entered and made the highlight reel immediately, going right to left to rob Nelson on an early second period Islanders power play.

Though Mrazek would end the night as the game’s second star, he was also in the net for the game-winner. That came after a horrendous Riley Sheahan giveaway in the Detroit slot allowed Nelson (rightfully named the first star of the night) to walk in alone, and while Mrazek made the save, he failed to locate the puck just behind his leg. Anders Lee crashed hard to the net and knocked the puck just over the line, with the goal correctly standing up after a review.

And that was pretty much it on a night when the Red Wings could only muster short bursts of their usual offensive flow. The Islanders looked nothing like a team that recently gave up 17 goals in a three-game stretch, snuffing out most of Detroit’s second chance opportunities. Only some curious non-calls, including a blatant cross-check by Travis Hamonic on Gustav Nyquist in the final minute, even stand out as talking points.

The Red Wings will welcome the disappointing Colorado Avalanche to town on Sunday. Hopefully they find their missing offense — they’ve scored only five goals during their current five-game losing streak — because otherwise they’re going to make the Avs look like the Islanders do at the Joe. And that’s not good.

The game was over when …

Sheahan tried to juke around someone in the slot instead of making the quick pass to the boards. That turned into a disaster, and with the Wings not finding the net right now (Nyquist was denied by a post and Darren Helm shot just wide on a shorthanded breakaway), they just couldn’t fall behind.

The unsung Red Wings hero was …

I mean, he really wasn’t unsung, but I’m going with Mrazek anyway. Thrust into the game without warning, he immediately had to scramble to keep his team in it. And though he lost contol of the puck that turned into the New York winner, Detroit was fortunate he even made the initial stop.

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