The Islanders lost their fourth straight game in regulation as they wrapped up a Western Conference road trip with a 3-1 loss at Colorado on Wednesday night. Brock Nelson scored the Isles sole goal of the game after goaltender Semyon Varlamov was pulled during the waning minutes of regulation. Varlamov made 26 saves against his former club.
Detroit got in the win column with a 4-3 win over Montreal on Tuesday night after losing four-straight road games in regulation to Buffalo, New Jersey, Boston and Pittsburgh respectively. The Red Wings win was prompted by three unanswered third period goals, as Andreas Athanasiou scored twice, and Mike Green found the back of the net. Robby Fabbri put Detroit on the board early in the second period to round out the scoring, while Jonathan Bernier made 21 saves.
MORNING SKATE UPDATES:
- Semyon Varlamov was the first goaltender off at morning skate. Varlamov is projected to make his 34th start of the season and his fourth consecutive start. Varlamov has a goals against average of 2.55 and a save percentage of .918%.
- Cal Clutterbuck was placed on Long Term Injured Reserve and was assigned to Bridgeport for a conditioning stint. Clutterbuck has been sidelined since Dec. 19 with a wrist laceration. Kieffer Bellows was returned on loan to Bridgeport after playing seven games with the Islanders. Forwards Andrew Ladd and Otto Koivula were recalled from Bridgeport.
- Head Coach Barry Trotz confirmed that Derick Brassard will not play tonight against Detroit. Brassard sustained an upper-body injury against Colorado in the first period and did not return after playing 2:19.
- The Isles have lost four straight games, all in regulation. It's the first time since Dec. 29, 2017- Jan. 5, 2018 (0-5-0) in which the Isles have lost four straight regulation games. The Isles were outscored 11-2 and allowed the first goal in all four games.
- Nelson leads the Isles in goals and found the back of the net for the 22nd time this season. Through 59 games, Nelson has 46 points, second only to Mathew Barzal.
- Mathew Barzal is atop the Islanders leaderboard in assists (31) and points (49). Barzal assisted on Nelson's goal. Against the Avalanche, the 22-year-old center recorded a career-high 24:59 time on ice, which was also the highest among forwards.
- Varlamov made 26 saves against his former club of eight seasons. Varlamov made his third-straight start between the pipes for the Isles, but his record dropped to 17-12-4. Varlamov has a goals against average of 2.55 and a save percentage of .918.
- Derick Brassard left the game in the first period after taking a deflected shot to the head. Brassard logged 2:01 time on ice and recorded one shot as he faced his former team. Head Coach Barry Trotz did not have an update on the center's status after the game. Brassard has suited up in all 59 games this season and has 29 points (10G, 19A).
- The Isles are 12-5-1 when they score at least one power-play goal and 21-15-5 when they do not. Against Colorado, the Isles power play went 0-for-3. Across the NHL, the Isles power play unit is ranked 22nd overall at 17.8%.
- The Isles penalty kill went 4-for-4 against Colorado and has killed off 13 straight penalties. In the NHL, the Isles PK unit is ranked 15th at 80.9%.
- The Isles dropped to fifth in the Metropolitan Division with 72 points and a record of 33-20-6. They are currently one point out of a playoff position, as they were leapfrogged by the Columbus Blue Jackets (73 points) on Thursday night. The Islanders hold three games in hand over the Blue Jackets.
- Athanasiou scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season and second game-winning goal. The winger has 24 points (10G, 14A) through 45 games played.
- Green found the back of the net for the third time this season. Through 47 games, the d-man has 10 points (3G, 7A).
- Fabbri scored his 13th goal of the season. Through 53 games, the center has 29 points (13G, 16A).
- Larkin registered two assists on the night. The center leads Detroit in assists (27) and points (42) through 62 games.
- Tyler Bertuzzi recorded one assist on the night and now has assists in back-to-back games. The winger leads the Red Wings with 18 goals. Bertuzzi is second on the Red Wings leaderboard in points (40) and assists (22) through 62 games.
- Bernier made his 33rd start of the season and improved his record to 13-17-2. Bernier has a goals against average of 2.89 and save percentage of .908%.
- Against Montreal, Detroit's power play went 0-for-3. The Red Wings power play is ranked 30th in the NHL at 14.4%.
- The Red Wings penalty kill went 1-for-3. In the NHL, Detroit's PK unit is 29th overall at 79.4%.
- Across the league, the Red Wings generate the fewest shots per game average at 27.3%, but against Montreal the Red Wings outshot the Canadiens 25-22.
- Detroit averages the fewest goals for per game with a nightly average of 2.02. the Red Wings average the most goals against across the NHL with an average of 3.73 goals allowed per game. The Red Wings are last in the NHL with 34 points this season.
- The Red Wings are without defenseman Danny DeKeyser, forward Filip Zadina and defenseman Filip Hronek. DeKeyser is out for the rest of the season with a back injury announced on Dec. 17. Zadina is still week-to-week after sustaining a lower-body injury against the Rangers on Jan. 31. Hronek won't play against the Islanders after taking a puck to the head against Pittsburgh on Sunday. Hronek leads Detroit's blueline with 29 points (9G, 20A) through 59 games.
The Isles have won both meetings of the season series over Detroit with a 4-1 decision on Dec. 2 and an 8-2 result on Jan. 14.
During the first meeting in early December, Jordan Eberle scored twice while Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier also found the back of the net. Varlamov made 30 saves. The Isles 8-2 rout in mid-January was powered by two goals from Brock Nelson and scoring also from Eberle, Josh Bailey, Lee, Noah Dobson, Beauvillier and Leo Komarov.