A good turnaround for the Red Wings produced a solid victory Saturday afternoon. Their game that lasted longer than they thought finished with Detroit winning 5-1 against the New York Islanders at the Joe Louis Arena. It was the first win on home ice since Dec. 20 making it 48 days since Red Wings fans have produced a win there. It also snapped a five game home losing streak just in time to start their homestand in the month of February. Petr Mrazek allowed the Islanders a late goal yet kept him and his team on the winning side.
The Red Wings come home to try and change things around overall. Their last homestand hadn’t gone well losing the last five straight. With five games in front of them at the Joe, Detroit made changes to their lineup to get a better outcome. When playing against the Iles, they did great work on the road producing a 4-2 victory with Mrazek stopping 27 against them. He got back into the net looking to get back on the winning side of things himself.
Young forward Andreas Anthanasiou was recalled from the Red Wings AHL team in Grand Rapids to help out the offense. During the preseason, he produced a few goals over the span of the time to be a great asset useful to the organization. With injuries riddling through the ranks of the Detroit roster, the 21 year old would help both sides of the game as well as their penalty killing.
The Islanders got started well but suddenly found themselves struggling to get out of their zone as Detroit kept the fight. The Red Wings couldn’t put their time in the Islanders zone to good use making a single shot on goal through eight minutes of play. They gave New York movement into their own zone getting a couple of shots at the net of Mrazek but nothing in the net.
He made another save at net before giving his teammates a chance to push forward to take on Isles goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Gustav Nyquist worked the puck near the boards before finding Tomas Jurco set up at the faceoff dot. He delivered a one timer into an open part of the net to capture his third of the season.
New York started to show force against Detroit, as they wanted to even the game before the period ended. A great scoring chance on a drive directly at Mrazek nearly went in losing sight of it but finding it just in time to have the whistle blown. Both teams got into a scuffle that put both to 4 on 4.
The Red Wings immediately got into action with the whole line working together to increase their lead. Threading the puck through the New York defense led the Red Wings to a goal from Kyle Quincey who scored his second of the season. “They guys made a great play and I just tried to ramp it up top shelf I guess,” said Quincey who was noted at the game winning scorer.
Despite playing the final 1:15 4 on 3, the Red Wings maintained strong support on defense to kill off the time and end a successful first frame. They were outshot 11-4 in the period but doing better on the faceoff left them in control.
New York came out once more to start the second period showing more effort to get a solid goal against the Red Wings but weren’t able to tabulate much. Detroit showed little movement on offense but later got a power play that they wanted to make happen.
They gained a two man advantage on the Isles where a three man play between Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Richards and Mike Green set up a scoring chance. Green was waiting for the moment to send a one timer and when it came he fired the puck through traffic scoring his fourth. They continued the power play for the remaining 90 seconds looking for a comfortable four goal margin.
Though they didn’t get it done, it arrived back on even strength where Tomas Tatar fired on the rebound of Anthanasiou’s shot for his 15th and first in eight games. “It was nice seeing the puck go back into the net,” Tatar said after the game to Fox Sports Detroit reporter John Keating.
Halak was replaced in net for Jean-Francois Berube to stop Detroit in their tracks. He clearly did well in net through the second half of the period but watched the Red Wings surge in shots on goal to outshoot New York 12-9. With such a lead for the Red Wings going into the third, a victory looked to be within their reach.
They had to wait before getting back on the ice as the Zamboni machines cut into the surface too deep causing a groove down the center from the blue line to the crease. A team of members who maintain the ice started to patch things up to begin the period. Officials went to discuss with the situation room on what actions should take as the problem wasn’t totally solved.
33 minutes elapsed during the delay before the repairs could take their mold to get the teams back on the ice. ‘They did a tremendous job and they fixed it and I didn’t even notice any difference,” said Tatar. It was determined that a piece of metal was sucked up by the Zamboni that caused the gash into the ice. “I wouldn’t say it was a problem they did a great job fixing it,” Mrazek said to reporters. “The last time we had a delay like this was two years ago against Vancouver.”
The score wouldn’t be anywhere close to even as the Red Wings continued to rack up puck and put it behind the net. Dylan Larkin was responsible for Detroit’s fifth unanswered rifling the shot near top shelf getting his 18th. Detroit took a penalty that gave the Islanders an opportunity to prevent the shutout while they still had the chance. New York captain John Tavares got one on the board for his team making it his 18th as well with Kyle Okposo recording his 25th assist.
It helped the Islanders get something going on their end as the team started to feel positive shots making their mark on net but not yet finding their way through Mrazek. Josh Bailey nearly had one on the Czech netminder but watched as his drive went into the glove ending the play. It didn’t stop them from shooting the puck in the Detroit zone as they fired nine through a large chunk of the third.
With two minutes left, the Red Wings finished things with a great show of force on defense to walk away with a great first step to their homestand. Mrazek recorded his 19th win of the season stopping 28 of 29 for a .966 save percentage that had him more than happy to have a victory back at home. “It’s big when you’re up 4-0 after two periods so we did a good job today,” Mrazek said.
Detroit kept themselves within reach of the leaders in their division with the win being so important to all involved. “It was definitely nice to play with a lead,” Quincey said about winning again. “We don’t do that often much so that was nice to do tonight.”
With Sunday off, the Red Wings would get the squad and the ice ready to host the Florida Panthers in a must needed win against their Atlantic Division rival on Monday night.