DETROIT – The New York Islanders got to the net and kept the Detroit Red Wings away from it.
Brock Nelson and Anders Lee each had a goal and an assist to lead New York to a 2-1 win against Detroit at Joe Louis Arena on Friday.
Each Islanders goal came off a rebound.
“You've got to get to the front [of the net] to score goals,” Nelson said. “Coaches harp on that: Got to get big bodies to the net.”
Nelson and Lee certainly qualify as big bodies. Nelson is listed at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, and Lee at 6-foot-3, 227 pounds.
“Always a part of our game plan to get puck to the net and crash,” Lee said.
Goalie Jaroslav Halak made 17 saves for New York (22-10-0).
“We wanted to play strong defensively. … I thought we did a good job of keeping them to the outside,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.
The Islanders have won five in a row in Detroit and haven’t lost at Joe Louis Arena since 2003. They are 8-1-1 against the Red Wings since the 2005-06 season.
“I like their team. I think they have a good team. They play fast. They play hard,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “They really got momentum in the second period when we took the penalty (a hooking call to defenseman Niklas Kronwall 38 seconds into the period).”
Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit (17-8-8), which lost its fifth straight (0-2-3).
"I think it was a well-played hockey game, two good teams went at it,” Zetterberg said. “I think in the second we turned the puck over a little bit too much and gave them a little momentum, got them some power-play opportunities.”
Jimmy Howard made eight saves on nine shots in the first period before being replaced by Petr Mrazek to start the second period because of a lower-body injury.
Babcock would only say Howard is injured and didn't give a time frame on how long he might be out.
Mrazek made 22 saves.
“I thought Mrazek was fantastic coming off the bench,” Babcock said.
The Red Wings have scored five goals during their five-game losing streak.
"We don't try to think that way,” Zetterberg said. “I know we just gotta have a good practice day tomorrow, regroup and kind of forget about this, keep doing the good things and change the bad things."
Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist hit the goal post about 3:30 into the third period, and Detroit forward Darren Helm shot wide on a shorthanded breakaway with 2:28 left.
“We had good, good chances too, but we never hit the net," Babcock said. "You’ve got to hit the net on some of them."
Lee gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead 10:41 into the second period. He swept in a puck that came out from under Mrazek after Nelson had been stopped on a breakaway off a turnover by Red Wings center Riley Sheahan.
The goal went to video review because Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson cleared the puck out of the net after it was about a foot or so over the goal line.
Mrazek made a spectacular save on Nelson 2:25 into the second with New York on the power play. After a cross-crease pass, Mrazek got over to make the stop after it appeared that Nelson had the open side of the net.
Halak stopped Pavel Datsyuk, who was cutting in off the right wing, with a blocker save with a little more than 6:30 remaining in the second.
Zetterberg opened the scoring 8:49 into the game with his sixth goal. He beat Halak with a one-timer from the top inside area of the left circle. It came off a pass from the left corner by Helm.
It was Zetterberg’s first goal since he scored an empty-netter against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 26 and his first against a goalie in 21 games.
Nelson tied the game 1-1 with 3:57 left in the first with his team-leading 14th goal. He dove to poke in a rebound between Howard's pads before the Detroit goalie could cover the puck.
The Islanders return home to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The Red Wings will play the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday in the third of a four-game homestand.