Red Wings-Islanders Preview
By TOM CASTRO
(AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings pulled into a three-way tie atop the Central Division in their last game by earning a victory - something they've had trouble doing against the New York Islanders of late.
The Red Wings look to keep rolling as they try to break a three-game losing streak in the series Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Detroit (26-14-1) won for the fifth time in seven games Sunday, 3-2 in overtime over slumping Chicago. The victory pulled them even with the Blackhawks and St. Louis in the crowded race for first in the division.
Pavel Datsyuk banked in a shot off Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy at 3:08 of the extra period and backup Ty Conklin made 29 saves - stopping a penalty shot by Jimmy Hayes in the third period - to help Detroit to the victory after it fell to Toronto the day before.
"Our guys stayed with it and dug in. This is a big win for us," said coach Mike Babcock, whose team will be completing a four-game trip Tuesday.
The Red Wings' surge has them in good shape as they seek a third straight Central title, but they could use a better result against last-place New York (14-19-6) than they've had the last few seasons. Detroit dropped the last meeting 4-3 in overtime at home Dec. 31, 2010, a loss that came after it was shut out in the previous two matchups by a combined 8-0.
The second of those came in the Wings' last visit to Nassau Coliseum, a 6-0 defeat Jan. 12, 2010. Detroit has lost three of four to the Islanders.
Jimmy Howard, expected back in net for the Wings, started the last game on Long Island and was pulled after allowing three goals on 20 shots. He has struggled in his last two games, giving up a season high-tying four goals each time and stopping only 14 shots against the Maple Leafs.
Howard is 0-2-1 with a 3.55 goals-against average versus the Islanders.
While New York has had success versus Detroit recently, it didn't against its last two opponents. The Islanders dropped both contests following a three-game winning streak, falling 5-1 to Phoenix on Saturday to conclude a three-game trip.
New York was outscored 4-0 after the first period by the Coyotes, a day after being outscored 4-2 following a scoreless opening 20 minutes in a loss to Anaheim.
"It's very disappointing," defenseman Mark Streit said. "The first period of the last two games were good. We were in the game and then within a couple minutes we just threw the game away."
Evgeni Nabokov gave up all five goals Saturday after allowing that many over the three-game win streak, during which he started each contest. He has given up nine goals in New York's last two games.
Nabokov has gone 8-17-2 with a 3.53 GAA in 29 games against the Wings, all of them coming while with San Jose.
Datsyuk has 11 goals and 22 assists over his last 25 contests, failing to record a point in only four of them. Teammate Johan Franzen has two goals and three assists during a four-game streak.
Islanders center John Tavares has totaled two goals and seven assists on a five-game point streak. He had a goal and two assists in the last meeting with Detroit.
Updated January 9, 2012