The Red Wings kept putting the Islanders on the power play, six straight times in all. Finally, the law of averages took over.
“You start getting four, five penalties, you don’t think you’re going to get another,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “So it can get frustrating.”
The Islanders scored their first five-on-four power-play goal since Nov. 15, part of a two-goal push in the third period, and went on to a 4-3 shootout win over the Red Wings on Saturday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, which hosted its third straight sellout of 13,917.
“There was lots of adversity,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “It was quite a mental challenge because of the fact you’re getting chances. You’re trying to do all the right things and you’re not giving up a whole lot, but you’re trailing the whole game.”
Thomas Greiss made 18 saves for the Islanders (15-12-4), who snapped a two-game losing streak, and stopped all three of Detroit’s shootout attempts. Jonathan Bernier stopped 45 shots for the Red Wings (14-15-5) but was beaten by Mathew Barzal in the second round of the shootout. Barzal swept wide to his right, then pulled Bernier out of position to his right with a stop-and-start move and slipped the puck past the goalie’s left skate to convert for the first time in four tries this season.
Casey Cizikas gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead by swiping in the puck from low in the slot at 13:56 of the third period. But Thomas Vanek, with Bernier off for an extra skater, tapped in the puck at the crease at 18:57.
“Even going into the third, we knew we were going to get the game,” said Barzal, who knocked in a rebound off a scramble at the crease to tie it at 2 at 11:03 of the third period after Andreas Athanasiou was called for roughing Cal Clutterbuck at 10:39. “It’s a rewarding win.”
Barzal’s power-play goal withstood Detroit’s challenge for goalie interference against Jordan Eberle.
The Islanders were unsuccessful on three man-advantage chances in the first 10:56 of the second period and still are only 2-for-34 in their last 13 games. Their only other power-play goal in that span came on a five-on-three advantage in a 3-2 win at Detroit on Dec. 8.
The Islanders took 14 power-play shots on Saturday.
“We had some good looks, we got good shots on goal, a couple of rebounds, we hit the post twice,” said Anthony Beauvillier, who took a feed from Barzal on a two-on-one rush and tied the score at 1 at 11:05 of the first period to extend his goal streak to three games and give him three goals in the three games at the Coliseum. “I thought we were strong mentally overall in the game, especially on the power play. It was a difference- maker for us.”
The third period started with the Islanders unsuccessful on two more power plays after Niklas Kronwall slashed Beauvillier at 1:00 and Vanek tripped Scott Mayfield at 4:36.
“You have to stay positive just in case you do get the next one,” Lee said. “You can’t be sulking.”
The Isles also were the better, more aggressive team in the first period, when they outshot the Red Wings 10-5. Yet they trailed 2-1 at the first intermission.
Gustav Nyquist’s power-play goal at 5:03 came eight seconds after Clutterbuck was called for interference. Defenseman Trevor Daley was able to get to the right post and poke the puck past Greiss for a 2-1 lead with 12.7 seconds left, a goal initially waved off but overturned upon video review.