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Nabokov, Islanders shut out slumping Red Wings
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 23 shots he faced and received three first-period goals of support in the New York Islanders' 3-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Nabokov made early scores by Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner and Casey Cizikas hold up in notching his first shutout of the season and leading the Islanders to only their third win in their past 17 games.
"We competed hard and the way we wanted to," said Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "We got some timely goals, nice goals. We played pretty hard against a pretty good team."
Petr Mrazek came up with just 16 saves in the loss, the injury-plagued Red Wings' seventh in nine outings and sixth in the last seven at home.
"We didn't really give him much help," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said of Mrazek. "What's he going to do? He came up with some big saves for us. We didn't give him a chance."
The Islanders scored three times on only seven shots during the opening period en route to their second straight road triumph that followed a 10-game skid as the visitor.
John Tavares set up the first goal by skating into the Detroit zone and sliding a pinpoint pass that Okposo deposited into an open right side just past the midway mark of the frame.
After taking in a feed from Josh Bailey, Grabner made it 2-0 by snapping a wrister over Mrazek's glove with 4:53 left in the session. Cizikas extended the margin less than two minutes later, crashing the net to knock in a centering give from Matt Martin.
"We played a pretty complete game," said Martin. "There were surges back and forth, but we stuck to it, worked hard and found a way to win."
Nabokov kept the Red Wings off the board through two periods despite Detroit owning an 11-2 shots advantage for the stanza, then polished off the shutout by turning aside all six chances in the third.
Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson was forced to leave the game with an upper-body injury ... The game was the 100th all-time meeting between the franchises, with Detroit owning a slim 47-45-6-2 edge ... Grabner now has three goals over his last three games after going 31 straight contests without one, while Cizikas had not scored in 13 games since last connecting Nov. 19 at Toronto ... New York improved to 11-4-2 when scoring at least three times this season ... The Red Wings are 1-for-20 on the power play over their past seven tilts after failing on their only opportunity Monday ...Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist returned to action after missing three games with a groin injury.
12/23 23:26:10 ET
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