DETROIT — That the Islanders need more goals and more points in the standings is not in debate.
So scoring at least three goals and earning at least one point in consecutive games, both for the first time since the first week of November, does represent progress.
But none of the goals on Saturday night came with the Islanders skating five-on-five. And they still couldn’t get a victory, as the Red Wings’ 4-3 overtime victory pushed the Islanders’ losing streak to an imperfect 10 (0-8-2).
Moritz Seider’s bullet of a one-timer from low in the left circle at 3:33 of overtime won it.
"It’s about the process," coach Barry Trotz said. "If you play well, you’re going to get results, and I thought we played well. We didn’t get the two points we wanted. We got one. But it’s about collecting points. I don’t care how you do it. You get a point on the road, it’s a good point."
The last-place Islanders (5-10-4) got two power-play goals from Oliver Wahlstrom and a shorthanded goal from Cal Clutterbuck. Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves, including four in the extra three-on-three period. Semyon Varlamov is likely to start Sunday night against Chicago at UBS Arena.
"We’re frustrated not getting two points," Mathew Barzal said. "Turn the page quickly. We’ve got a big one tomorrow at home. We need to get one at home in front of our fans. It’s nice to get a point on the road. It’s not what we ultimately want, but we’ll be ready tomorrow."
The Islanders are 0-4-1 at their new $1.1 billion home after losing in overtime to the Sharks, 2-1, on Thursday night.
On Saturday, the Islanders surpassed one goal for the second time in nine games and scored more than two goals for the first time since a 6-2 win in Montreal on Nov. 4. That and a 2-0 win in Winnipeg two days later were the last time they collected points in consecutive games.
"We’ve just got to keep building our game back up," said Clutterbuck, who raced up the left wing and got to the crease to push the puck past Alex Nedeljkovic (20 saves) at 2:45 of the first period for the Islanders’ first shorthanded goal of the season. "It’s been a tough stretch for us. We’ve just got to start somehow and keep building. I think the last two, getting points, is a start."
Trotz was able to reinsert defenseman Zdeno Chara and Kieffer Bellows into the lineup after both cleared COVID-19 protocol. Eight Islanders players have tested positive since Nov. 16, but only Casey Cizikas remained unavailable.
A healthy power play — the Islanders are last in the NHL on the man advantage — certainly would bolster the production. Wahlstrom scored on a wrister from the high slot to tie it at 2-2 at 10:49 of the second period, then tied it at 3-3 with a power-play goal from the top of the left circle at 12:33 of the third period.
"Execution," Wahlstrom said of the suddenly improved power play. "I think the most important thing is the breakout. We’ve just got to hone it down and keep working on it."
Givani Smith, leading an odd-man rush on the left, had regained a 3-2 lead for the Red Wings, who have won five straight, at 13:19 of the second period.
The Red Wings scored twice within 2 minutes, 19 seconds to take a 2-1 lead on Sam Gagner’s sharp-angle shot from the left at 7:37 of the first period.
The Islanders limited the Red Wings to one shot on goal on a five-on-three power play in the first period that lasted 1 minute, 17 seconds, with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Adam Pelech and Chara defending.