The New York Islanders ended their longest losing streak of the season on Saturday. They’ll now face an opponent saddled with the longest losing streak in the NHL this season.
The Islanders halted a three-game skid by blanking Columbus at home 2-0. They’ll be in Detroit on Monday to face the reeling Red Wings, who have gone winless in their last nine games.
New York scored just two goals in its previous three games. The Islanders didn’t require much offense against the Blue Jackets to record their first regulation victory since Nov. 13.
“It’s nice to come back and get a quick ‘W’ and feel good about our game a little bit,” center Mathew Barzal said on NHL.com. “I thought there was some good chemistry out there … everyone actually had a pretty good game (Saturday), so it’s nice to get back on track a bit.”
Starting goalie Thomas Greiss left the game in the first period with an illness. Semyon Varlamov was stellar in relief, stopping 30 shots.
“Honestly, this one goes to (Varlamov),” forward Anders Lee said to NHL.com. “Coming in cold, quick change there and really shutting the door on a team that had quite a bit of chances. I think the shot totals might have been a little high for what we would like to see, but a shutout nonetheless and he deserves a lot of credit for that.”
Overall, November was a very productive month for the Islanders. They went 9-2-2 overall and 6-0-1 at home.
The Wings are glad to see the month in their rearview mirror. Their current skid includes seven consecutive regulation losses. They also had an eight-game winless streak in October.
Washington handed them their latest defeat, 5-2, on Saturday. The game was closer than the score indicated, as Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored two empty-net goals.
“Through the early part of the season, we lost some games that I thought we deserved a better fate,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “Some of it was lack of specialty teams. In the last nine games, we haven’t played good enough overall.”
Detroit scored its first power play goal in nine games after going 0-for-18 with a man advantage in the previous eight contests. However, that unit got off only one shot on its three other power play chances.
“It was all on us,” center Dylan Larkin said. “We go as a unit of five. We have to work for each other. You’ve got to want the puck on your stick, you’ve got to want to make plays. We got the puck on the boards too much when it should go to the point or should go around the boards to settle it down.”
The Wings have scored just three goals in the last four games. Robby Fabbri, who was acquired from St. Louis in early November, notched two of them. He has scored five goals since joining the Wings.
“It doesn’t do anything for this team if we’re not winning,” he said. “I’m more concerned with that.”
The Islanders won two of their three meetings with the Wings last season.
–Field Level Media