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Red Wings look to extend win streak against Islanders

by John Kreiser

ISLANDERS (10-20-7) at RED WINGS (17-12-9)


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

Season series: It's the third and final game this season between the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, who split a pair at Nassau Coliseum in November.

Big story: Both teams try to finish their pre-Christmas schedule on a positive note. The Red Wings, who've won their past two, are playing their last game in Detroit before the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1.

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York flew to Detroit on Sunday after a 5-3 home loss to the Anaheim Ducks the night before – another game in which the Islanders led a two-goal lead get away. They led 3-1 after two periods but were overwhelmed by Anaheim in the third. The Islanders have lost 10 games in which they've led in the third period and six (all at home) in which they've led by two goals. Two of the six have come in the past three games.

"We're not executing in the third period, closing out games and making it hard for other teams," captain John Tavares said. "We have to do a better job in a lot of areas, especially in our defensive zone and in our coverage."

Red Wings: The specter of an 11-game winless streak in shootouts was hanging over the Red Wings like Marley's ghost until Saturday night. After failing to hold an early 3-1 lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, the Red Wings got the extra point when Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson scored in the tiebreaker.

"It's huge," Alfredsson told when asked about ending the shootout drought, which included six losses this season. "It becomes a mental thing. Winning in overtime last game [3-2 against the Calgary Flames on Thursday] and winning in a shootout I think lessens the grip on the stick the next time around."

Who's hot: Islanders forward Thomas Vanek has three goals in his past two games. … Datsyuk had a goal on Saturday after a three-assist game against the Flames, The shootout goal was his first in six tries this season. Alfredsson has two goals and four points in the past two games.

Injury report: Two Islanders defensemen, Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Radek Martinek (back) are on injured reserve. … Detroit forward Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) had surgery and will be out until after the Olympic break. Also missing are starting goaltender Jimmy Howard (knee) as well as forwards Henrik Zetterberg (back), Johan Franzen (concussion), Darren Helm (shoulder) and Justin Abdelkader (head). Forward Gustav Nyquist (groin) returns to the lineup Monday.

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