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Isles begin homestand against Red Wings

by Brian Compton
RED WINGS (26-14-1) at ISLANDERS (14-19-6)


Last 10: Detroit 6-4-0; New York 5-5-0.

Season Series: This is the lone meeting between the clubs. They last faced each other on Dec. 31, 2010, when the Isles earned a 4-3 win at Joe Louis Arena.

Big Story: Three's a crowd in the Central Division. The Red Wings, who have won five of their last seven games, enter Tuesday's action in a three-way tie for first place with Chicago and St. Louis. For whatever reason, though, the Islanders have been a pain in Detroit's neck in recent years, so the Wings have to end a three-game skid at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum if they plan on keeping pace with the Blackhawks and Blues. Tuesday also marks the conclusion of a four-game road trip for the Red Wings.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit made it a three-way tie in the Central on Sunday night with its dramatic 3-2 overtime victory at Chicago. Pavel Datsyuk scored the game-winning goal at 3:08 of overtime, when his shot went off Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy and past goaltender Corey Crawford. Ty Conklin made 29 saves -- including a penalty shot stop against Jimmy Hayes -- in the victory.

"Our guys stayed with it and dug in. This is a big win for us," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.

Islanders: Just when it appeared New York might be back in the playoff race, it gets outscored 9-3 in back-to-back losses at Anaheim and Phoenix. The Islanders, now five games under the .500 mark, begin a four-game homestand Tuesday night in last place in the Eastern Conference and 12 points out of a playoff spot.

"We had high expectations before this road trip," captain Mark Streit said. "We started out well in Carolina, got a win, didn't play that great, but got a win. Then last two games we played two good teams, but it's just not good enough."

Kevin Poulin, who was named the AHL's Player of the Week after notching four straight wins and three consecutive shutouts, was recalled by the Isles on Monday and is expected to start against Detroit.

Who's Hot: Datsyuk has earned at least a point in 16 of his 19 games (7 goals, 17 assists)… Isles center John Tavares has a five-game point streak. He has 2 goals and 7 assists during that span.

Injury Report: Detroit winger Patrick Eaves is out with a fractured jaw. … The Isles are expected to be without Al Montoya (concussion), Rick DiPietro (lower body), David Ullstrom (concussion), Mike Mottau (concussion) and Marty Reasoner (hand).

Stat Pack: Conklin's victory Sunday night was his first since his first start of the season, a 3-0 win against Colorado on Oct. 8. It was just his third start in 34 games. … New York is 8-for-20 on the power play over the last seven games. The Isles were 1-for-22 in the previous seven.

Puck Drop: "We have to find a way for certain guys to light the lamp. You have to score a couple, three goals a night to win in this League." -- Islanders coach Jack Capuano to Newsday regarding the team's offensive struggles

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