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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (10-20-7) at Detroit Red Wings (17-12-9), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings will try to head into the NHL's Christmas break with a third straight victory when they welcome the lowly New York Islanders for Monday's tilt at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings have posted back-to-back wins on the heels of an 0-4-2 stretch from Dec. 7-17. Detroit halted the six-game slide with Thursday's overtime win against visiting Calgary and then hit the road for to earn a 5-4 shootout win Saturday in Toronto.
Although Detroit coughed up a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes in allowing the Maple Leafs to send the game to overtime, the Red Wings were happy to finally win in the shootout. The Red Wings had lost six shootouts this season and an NHL- record 11 straight overall before coming through on Saturday.
Toronto overcame a two-goal deficit to grab a 4-3 lead by the midway point of the third period before Detroit's Tomas Tatar potted the equalizer with 6:16 remaining in regulation.
Daniel Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk both scored during the penalty shot tiebreaker for Detroit, while former Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson earned the victory. Gustavsson stopped 19-of-23 shots through regulation and OT before stopping both Toronto shooters in the decisive segment.
"It was nice that [Gustavsson] saves the first one then I score and put a little more pressure on them going into the second round. We're in desperate need of points and getting that extra one, it's a good feeling," said Alfredsson.
Tomas Jurco had a goal and an assist in regulation for Detroit, while Riley Sheahan notched two assists.
Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader has missed the last four games with a head injury and is expected to sit out tonight. Detroit is also currently playing without No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard and a host of key forwards, including captain Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss.
Detroit is just 6-9-6 as the host this season compared to a solid 11-3-3 mark on the road. The Red Wings will begin a stretch of seven road dates in eight games when they emerge from the Christmas break to visit Florida on Saturday.
The Islanders, meanwhile, enter Monday having lost four of five and 14 of their last 16 games. However, New York has had success in recent years against Detroit, winning six of the last eight meetings in this series overall, including three straight in the Motor City.
After downing the rival New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday, the Isles fell 5-3 the following night against a visiting Anaheim Ducks club. The Ducks trailed New York by a 3-1 score after 40 minutes before scoring four unanswered goals in the third to win going away.
Kyle Palmieri potted the game-winner with 6:16 left for the Ducks and Ryan Getzlaf recorded a hat trick for the visitors.
Thomas Vanek scored twice in the loss and Frans Nielsen added a goal for the Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov allowed four goals on 30 shots in the setback.
"The main focus tonight was the discipline and the decision-making with the puck, with the size of the guys they have," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "They can wear you down, and they have some offensive [defensemen] who can jump into the play and give you problems."
New York is playing three of its next four games on the road, beginning with this evening's test in Motown. The Isles are just 5-13-0 as the visiting team this season.
12/23 11:00:44 ET
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