NEW YORK – The city that never sleeps certainly tried its darnedest to make sure the Red Wings didn’t get any shuteye last night.
From a room-key problem for some players to a fire alarm at 3:12 a.m. it was a somewhat restless night for the Red Wings who arrived in Brooklyn shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday.
As for the room keys that weren’t probably programmed, Gustav Nyquist said it could have been a lot worse.
Most everyone associated with the team was awakened by the early-morning alarm, though Tomas Tatar admitted to sleeping through it.
“But I don’t know if that’s a good thing,” the Wings’ forward said.
The Red Wings finished a five-game homestand with a 4-0-1 record capped by a 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Sunday. They will go with Jimmy Howard, who draws his 21st start of the season.
Since recording his last win (Dec. 3 vs. Arizona), Howard is winless in his last eight starts and compiled a 0-4-3 record.
But the past doesn’t bother Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who has confidence in both of his goaltenders.
“He doesn’t have to worry about what’s happened until this point,” Blashill said. “Let’s worry about tonight’s game, that’s the number one thing. Let’s continue to look ahead, let’s have a next-shot mentality. After each shot let’s not worry about whether it was a big save or whether they hit the post or it went in. Let’s worry about the next one. I think he’s done a good job with that. He’s in a good spot, mentally, to be honest with you. He’s really, really put in extra time with (goaltending coach) Jimmy Bedard, so I think he’s prepared here tonight and now he’s gotta go execute.”
Howard was sharp when called upon early in the period as Islanders center John Tavares raced in alone on a breakaway after picking Danny DeKeyser’s pocket in the neutral zone. Tavares tried to beat Howard to the far side, but the veteran goalie made a blocker save.
The Wings’ power play, which is 4-of-16 in the past four games, went to work when Tavares was called for tripping his childhood friend and former youth hockey teammates, Brendan Smith. While the Wings managed to maintain a fair amount of puck possession during the man advantage they only got one shot, by Dylan Larkin, on Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss.
Nyquist gave the Wings their best scoring chance of the period. The forward danced around a New York defender to create space for himself in the slot before wiring a wrist shot that beat Greiss but hit the left post.
The Islanders had a turn on the power play late in the period when Henrik Zetterberg was sent off for tripping Frans Nielsen at 16:54. But as they have done so well of late, the Wings were solid defensively in front of their goalie, blocking two shots – one each by Smith and Kyle Quincey – to kill off the Islanders’ advantage.
DETROIT 0, NY ISLANDERS 0
PENALTIES: 1. NYI, Tavares (tripping), 7:41; 2. DET, Zetterberg (tripping), 16:54.
SHOTS: Detroit 8, NY Islanders 8.
The Islanders turned up the pressure in the first half of the period, peppering Howard with as many shots in the first 10 minutes as they did the entire first period.
Howard stopped all but one – the eighth – on a fluky play. Heading toward the Brock Nelson knocked a pass out of the air before sweeping it behind Howard to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders are an earlier chance to break the scoreless tie, but Howard left Tavares shaking his head during New York’s first power play of the period. After the Isles’ captain split Alexey Marchenko and Luke Glendening, he coasted in front the left wing. But again, Howard was on the spot to make a stop, this time on Tavares’ backhand from in front of the crease.
The Islanders’ power play went to work again when Pavel Datsyuk was assessed just his third minor penalty of the season. The Wings’ center was called for delay of game when his clearing attempted went into the stands.
Unfortunately, the Isles built a two-goal lead with Datsyuk in the box when Josh Bailey scored off of a rebound.
New York went up 3-0 when former Wings defenseman Marek Zidlicky scored for the fourth time this season.
NY ISLANDERS 3, DETROIT 0
SCORING: 1. NYI, Nelson (Strome, Boychuk) 8:24; 2. NYI, Bailey PPG (Boychuk, Nelson), 14:57; 3. NYI, Zidlicky (Cutterbuck, Cizikas), 16:03.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Helm (holding) 5:53; 2. DET, Datsyuk (delay of game), 13:19; 3. NYI, Strome (hooking), 16:24; 4. NYI, Hickey (slashing), 19:01.
SHOTS: Detroit 11 (19), NY Islanders 16 (24).
During an afternoon without much to celebrate, the Wings did have one bright spot, which occurred in the third period.
Datysuk ruined Greiss’s bid for a shutout while extending his point streak to six straight games with his 12th goal of the season. The rebound goal, from Nyquist’s original shot, gives the Russian center 310 goals for his career, breaking a tie with Brendan Shanahan for seventh all time in franchise history.
Only Gordie Howe (786), Steve Yzerman (692), Alex Delvecchio (456), Sergei Fedorov (400), Ted Lindsay (335) and Norm Ullman (324) have more career goals than Datsyuk.
The loss is the Wings’ first in regulation this month when they lost 6-3 at Florida (Feb. 4).
NY ISLANDERS 4, DETROIT 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Datsyuk (Nyquist), 9:31; 2. NYI, Strome (Tavares, Leddy) 12:14.
PENALTIES: 1. NYI, Nelson (closing hand on puck), 6:19; 2. DET, Abdelkader (delay of game), 6:52; 3. DET, Tatar (holding), 13:17.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (29), NY Islanders 8 (32).