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Islanders come back from quick 2-0 deficit for 5-4 victory over Red Wings

The New York Islanders celebrate after defeating the

The New York Islanders celebrate after defeating the Detroit Red Wings at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday, March 29, 2015 in Uniondale. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It wasn't any of the following things: pretty, by the book or the way the Islanders drew it up.

But good grief, was it necessary.

The Islanders pulled out a 5-4 win over the Red Wings at the Coliseum on Sunday with a bit of moxie, a bit of luck and -- in the end of a game that featured six goals on 10 shots in the opening 9:54 -- a strong, structured third period.

"It was huge," said Nick Leddy, who had a pair of assists as the Islanders scored more than two goals against an opposing goaltender for the first time since March 9. "They're a little older team, they've been through some long playoff runs and they know how to play this time of year. We did a great job in the third."

The Isles, staked to a lead entering the final period at home for the first time in nearly a month, clamped down on the high-powered Red Wings and allowed only five shots on Jaroslav Halak, all of those coming in the latter half of the period.

Halak was sharp, with his best stop coming off Darren Helm's shot with 5:20 to play. The way it started for Halak and the Islanders, though, it would have seemed like a miracle to have him still be in goal or the Islanders to be in the lead.

After a turnover, Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser unleashed a high shot that Halak stopped but dumped right into the crease, and Tomas Tatar swept it home just 39 seconds in.

Drew Miller chopped at a shot that hit off Brian Strait's stick, looped over Halak and landed softly in the net at 1:46 -- two Wings goals on three shots to stun a Coliseum crowd that already had seen its share of bad luck and bad play during an 0-6-1 home slide.

"The start was crazy," said Halak, able to smile about it afterward. "Three shots, two goals and we're down 2-0. But we didn't panic. The guys responded really well."

And really quickly. On the tail end of the Isles' first power play, Brock Nelson took a crisp feed from Lubomir Visnovsky and snapped a shot past Petr Mrazek at 4:01 of the first -- a goal on the Islanders' first shot.

Ryan Strome tied it at 5:38 after he intercepted a breakout pass, played give-and-go with John Tavares and beat Mrazek on the rebound of his own shot. Nelson's 19th and Strome's 16th snapped both out of decent funks (Nelson's second goal in 17 games, Strome's second in 13), and both played with energy and spunk all game.

"It was more adversity," Strome said of the early deficit. "I figured we had to do something big like that to get out of this slump."

Led by Tavares, the Islanders scored three power-play goals (in four chances) in a game for the first time this season.

His slap-pass from the left circle ticked perfectly off Kyle Okposo's skate and past Mrazek at 9:02 for a brief Isles lead, which was given back on Niklas Kronwall's wrist shot at 9:54.

But Tavares sent Frans Nielsen flying up the wing to beat Mrazek from a sharp angle 16 seconds into the second for another lead, sending Mrazek to the bench.

Cal Clutterbuck pounced on a turnover by Tatar and beat Jimmy Howard on a short-handed breakaway at 3:57 of the second, though that two-goal lead lasted only until Pavel Datsyuk chipped a backhand past Halak on a Wings power play at 10:20 of the second.

From there, the Islanders settled things down and looked more like the confident team from December and January than the frustrated bunch of the last two weeks.

"It was a good one for the fans, a good one for us," Strome said, "and hopefully we can get that mojo back."

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