Preview: Islanders at Red Wings
The New York Islanders snapped a three-game slide last time out and hope to end their scoring slump Monday night when they visit the struggling Detroit Red Wings, who have dropped nine consecutive contests. Thomas Greiss, who left in the first period due to illness, and Semyon Varlamov combined for a shutout as the Islanders defeated Columbus 2-0 on Saturday after scoring just twice during their slide (0-2-1).
“It’s nice to get back (home) and get a quick ‘W’ and feel good about our game a little bit,” New York center Mathew Barzal told reporters after his team was outshot 39-27. “I thought there was some good chemistry out there. I just think everyone actually had a pretty good game (Saturday), so it’s nice to get back on track a bit.” The Islanders have won four of the last five meetings as they approach the first of three this season against the Red Wings, who suffered a 5-2 loss to Washington on Saturday to drop to 0-7-2 in the last nine contests. Detroit has been outscored 40-16 during the losing streak, scoring just four times in the past five games and getting shut out twice in the process. “We have to somehow find an identity very soon,” Red Wings center Frans Nielsen told the Detroit Free Press. “Finding a way of playing hockey where we know that we can be successful. Right now it’s way too inconsistent. We have to figure out who we are out there.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG Plus 2 (New York), FS Detroit
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (17-5-2): Barzal had a goal along with an assist Saturday after being blanked in three straight games, and leads the team with 10 goals and 22 points - two more than fellow center Brock Nelson in each category. Captain Anders Lee (11 points) ended an 11-game goal-scoring drought Saturday and fellow forward Josh Bailey (15 points) made the scoresheet for the first time in five games with an assist. Greiss (10-2-0, 2.10 goals-against average, .931 save percentage) is expected to travel with the team, but Varlamov (7-3-2, 2.50, .918) is likely to get the start Monday.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (7-19-3): Forward Robby Fabbri scored for the second straight game Saturday and has 10 points in 12 games since coming over in a trade with St. Louis early in November. Left wing Tyler Bertuzzi had an assist against Washington to tie injured right wing Anthony Mantha (lower body) for the team lead with 23 points and center Dylan Larkin (six goals, 11 assists) helped set up a goal Saturday for his first point in eight contests. Right wing Filip Zadina, the sixth pick in the 2018 draft, had an assist against Washington for his first point in four games since being recalled from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.
1. Detroit recalled veteran D Jonathan Ericsson (98 career assists, 669 games) from Grand Rapids on Sunday.
2. New York is 0-for-11 with the man advantage in its last four games and the Red Wings 1-for-22 in the past nine.
3. The Red Wings acquired G Eric Comrie from Arizona in exchange for minor-league D Vili Saarijarvi on Saturday.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Red Wings 2