Detroit Red Wings blanked, 2-0, by New York Islanders: Game thread recap
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Where: UBS Arena in Elmont, New York.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1; Red Wings radio affiliates).
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Game notes: If there’s a team that would like to turn back the clock — not necessarily to the franchise’s golden years of four Stanley Cups in the 1980s, but even to the 2020-21 season, or just the end of 2022 — it’s the Islanders. They looked poised to return to the playoffs in their first season under coach Lane Lambert — Stevie Y’s old roommate in Detroit, and the Wings’ second-round pick in the 1983 draft they nabbed Yzerman in the first — but have just two wins since the calendar flipped to 2023. Those came on Jan. 3 and Jan. 14, with a four-game and a six-game (active) losing streak in there as well.
The most recent problem for the Isles has been a lack of offense; they’ve scored more than three goals just once in their 13 games of 2023 and have just eight goals in their past five games combined. That’s not exactly what they were hoping for when they handed 25-year-old Matthew Barzal more than $9.1 million a year guaranteed (beginning next season); he’s No. 2 on the roster in points (42), but his goal total (11) is fairly underwhelming. Then again, his career high in goals, 22, came in his rookie season (2017-18) as he won the Calder Trophy. (Consider that a mark in favor of Dylan Larkin — who already has two 30-goal seasons — if he’s targeting a similar deal to Barzal’s this offseason.)
Three of those eight goals in the past five have come from 31-year-old Brock Nelson, who leads the roster with 18 en route to nabbing his first All-Star nod. The Isles’ other All-Star — yes, teams are allowed to have more than one, we’re told — is goalie Ilya Sorokin, whose 15-16-4 record belies a stellar .922 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average. The 27-year-old, who, yes, made the Metropolitan roster via fan vote, also has three shutouts, tying him for third in the league with (among other) the Wings’ Ville Husso.
One of Husso’s shutouts came against this very Isles team back on Nov. 5 at Little Caesars Arena. Husso stopped 24 shots in that one; more recently, he has stopped 104 of 113 shots (.920) over his past four games, with the Wings going 3-1-0. That includes the Wings’ win Thursday night in Montreal, so maybe coach Derek Lalonde will give Husso a night off.
Tonight’s game wraps up the first half for the Wings — yes, already — as they don’t have a game before the Feb. 2-5 All-Star break. They’ll come out of the break hard, though, hosting most of Western Canada — Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver — for three games in five days on Feb. 7-11 before returning the favor with four games in six days in, yep, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Seattle (which is almost Canada, eh?) on Feb. 13-18. The Isles, meanwhile, will sneak in another game at home Saturday night against the Golden Knights — Viva Long Island! — before shutting it down for the All-Star break.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings lose to New York Islanders, 2-0: Game thread recap
Source: Yahoo Sports