The Detroit Red Wings have followed a Win-Loss-Loss pattern in their schedule over the past month, and that pattern continued tonight as the team fell to the New York Islanders by a score of 5-4 in the team’s last regular-season visit to Nassau Coliseum.
Detroit opened the scoring 39 seconds into the game when a seemingly harmless slap shot from DeKeyser at the point hit Jaroslav Halak‘s shoulder. Tomas Tatar beat defenseman Nick Leddy to the rebound and notched his 100th career NHL point with his 28th goal of the season.
The Wings scored against just over a minute later to take a 2-0 lead. A scrum behind the Islander’s net diverted the puck to the front of Halak, an area which facilitated a crowd of blue and one player in red: Drew Miller. The puck found its way to his stick, and another rather non-threatening shot hit Halak, then flipper over him and bounced into the back of the cage.
However, the lead didn’t last long. The Islanders jumped ahead to 3-2 with goals from Nelson, Okposo, and Strome in just 5 minutes. In that span, the Wings’ penalty kill went 0-2 against a power play squad that had only scored once in its past 5 games. Within a minute of Okposo’s go-ahead goal, Kronwall evened the tilt with a wrister in the slot off of Datsyuk’s second assist.
The scoring didn’t stop there. Frans Nielsen improved the Isles’ power play to 3-3 16 seconds into the 2nd on a weak short side shot. Mrazek was pulled, and Jimmy Howard allowed Cal Clutterbuck to tally a shorthanded goal on a forehand-backhand breakaway, the second shot that Howard faced.
After giving up 2 more goals in another short span, Detroit’s defense began to settle in, killing a penalty and limiting quality scoring chances against Howard. Pavel Datsyuk scored on the power play at the halfway point to cut the deficit to one, but that would be the final goal of the game. Detroit was unable to come back in the third as a strong late effort was thwarted by consistently choosing to make cute passes rather than take legitimate shots on goal.
The Red Wings have scored 16 goals in their last 4 games, yet the walk away with only one win in that stretch. Detroit has virtually no chance of missing the playoffs, but their chances of earning home ice in the first round of the postseason are also likely nonexistent.
Detroit plays the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.