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Islanders look to beat Red Wings for fifth straight time

by John Kreiser

RED WINGS (9-5-6) at ISLANDERS (7-10-3)


Last 10: Detroit 3-2-5; New York 3-7-0

Season series: It's the first of three games between the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders, who play again at Nassau Coliseum on Black Friday. The Islanders have won the past four games between the teams.

Big story: Each team has dropped seven of its past 10 games, though the Red Wings have gotten single points in five of those losses by getting past regulation. Detroit is probably glad to hit the road; the Red Wings have lost seven in a row at home, including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday when they blew a two-goal lead in the third period. The Islanders are coming off a blown third-period lead of their own; they saw a 2-0 advantage turn into a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: The most optimistic note for Detroit was that it scored three goals against Washington without getting any from its top line. Johan Franzen scored twice, matching his production through Detroit's first 19 games, and set up defenseman Danny DeKeyser's goal late in the second period.

"We got two out of [Franzen] ... that’s good secondary scoring," coach Mike Babcock said. "Normally when we’ve gotten any secondary scoring we’ve been able to win the game. I thought that was a positive thing for us. I thought our power play was good too. But we need to find a way to get one more to win the game. That's the bottom line."

Islanders: Home hasn't been much more friendly to New York than it has for Detroit. The loss to the Kings on Thursday marked the third time this season the Islanders have lost after leading by two goals. All three have come at home; in two of them, the Islanders took a 2-0 lead into the third period.

"That's two points we are going to be kicking ourselves about," captain John Tavares said. "Again, we played pretty well until the third period, but every part of our game let us down. … We need more complete games, and we have to be better as a team."

Evgeni Nabokov will be back in goal for the Islanders after 23-year-old Kevin Poulin played in each of the past three games.

Who's hot: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg didn't hit the score sheet Friday but has seven points in his past five games. … Tavares has a goal and five assists during a four-game points streak.

Injury report: The Red Wings played with 17 skaters Friday when forward Daniel Alfredsson was a late scratch with a groin injury suffered in warm-ups. Center Stephen Weiss (groin) and defenseman Brendan Smith (shoulder) are close to returning. … The Islanders had hoped that first-line left wing Thomas Vanek (upper body) would be able to play; he left after the first shift last Saturday at the Columbus Blue Jackets and hasn't played since. Vanek skated Saturday morning but coach Jack Capuano said he would stick with the same llineup that faced the Kings, meaning Vanek will sit again. Defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Brian Strait (upper body) are on injured reserve.

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