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Red Wings defeat Islanders, seventh win in past eight

by Paul Harris /

DETROIT -- Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek bounced back after a tough stretch.

Mrazek made 21 saves and the Red Wings got goals from four players in a 4-1 win against the New York Islanders at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.

Mrazek allowed 16 goals in his prior four games and was pulled twice. He began the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League, but injuries to No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard and backup Jonas Gustavsson made it necessary for Mrazek to carry the load.

"You have to be mentally strong," Mrazek said. "You just bounce back and be strong mentally and physically."

Detroit coach Mike Babcock agreed.

"Those things happen sometimes. You have to have a real short memory in this league," Babcock said. "He's been yanked now twice and he's responded the next night and I really like that. He's still got to develop as a goaltender. He's got to work on his skill set but I think his mind is really good."

The Red Wings (29-12-9) have won seven of their past eight games. Tomas Tatar, Brendan Smith, Jonathan Ericsson and Gustav Nyquist scored for Detroit.

"That's a young, mature kid there (Mrazek), and I think you see his, people call it his moxie or his charisma, and that helps. Guys who can forget quickly are the best players,” Smith said. "If you dwell on it, you create your own snowball and it's a bad thing. I think it's good to see him bounce back, and we knew he would because he’s that kind of person and he’s going to be a heck of a goalie."

Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky scored for New York (32-16-1) in his first game back from injury. Chad Johnson made 15 saves.

"We had three guys today that I don't even know if they played. I'm [upset] about that," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "I didn't see the grit and determination from some guys that you need."

New York allowed two power-play goals and has allowed nine in their past 17 chances. They have the worst penalty kill in the NHL.

"The specialty teams hurt us today," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "It's kind of hurt us all this season. ... We got a power-play goal but we didn't create much momentum off of it. They capitalized on theirs."

Visnovsky, who missed nine games with an upper-body injury, scored a power-play goal 5:24 into the third period to make it 2-1. He beat Mrazek from the high slot for his fourth goal 10 seconds after Smith went off for interference.

Ericsson restored the Red Wings' two-goal lead 9:21 into the third. His wrist shot from the left point deflected in off the back of New York defenseman Thomas Hickey's leg. It was Ericsson's third goal.

"We don't want to hit the first guy coming out because then it's coming out again," Ericsson said. "If it hits someone in front of the net we might get second chances off it."

Nyquist scored on the power play, his 20th goal, with 6:52 remaining.

Tatar opened the scoring with a power-play goal 5:29 into the game. He beat Johnson, who was screened, high on the far side from the left circle after carrying the puck there from the high slot. Tatar took a pass from defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who made a nice play to keep the puck in at the right point on his backhand. It was Tatar's team-leading 22nd goal and came 12 seconds after New York center Mikhail Grabovski went off for goaltender interference.

Center Pavel Datsyuk also assisted on the goal. It was the 554th of his NHL career, which ties him with Sergei Fedorov for fifth place on Detroit's all-time list. Ahead of them are Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe, Nicklas Lidstrom and Alex Delvecchio.

Smith made it 2-0 with 47 seconds left in the second period. He put in a one-time slap shot from the top part of the left circle off a backhand pass from the side of the net by right wing Tomas Jurco.

It was Smith's third goal and one of two shots by the Red Wings in the period.

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