The Detroit Red Wings earned their 5th straight victory in the form of a 4-3 overtime decision over the plucky New York Islanders on Saturday night.
As Mickey Redmond noted, the Islanders did a pretty darn stellar job of checking the snot out of the Fabbri-Larkin-Raymond and Veleno-Suter-Zadina lines, so the Red Wings had to resort to goals from their defense (Hronek and Seider) and depth players (Smith and Gagner) to win a game that the Islanders made far too interesting for its own good…
But Nedeljkovic was up to the challenge of stopping 20 of 23 very difficult Islanders shots, the Red Wings blocked 20 more Islanders attempts, and when the Wings blew their 3-2 3rd period lead, Moritz Seider did this in overtime:
Given that the Red Wings have played in 25 games already (among the most in the NHL), and given that the Red Wings are at least technically making a playoff push, this was the kind of win that sometimes one must grind out over a team that’s struggling (the Islanders are 0-8-and-2 of late; they play Detroit two more times this month, too) to bank away the 2 points you want to earn.
For our friends from Long Island, there was still improvement to be seen in forcing an opponent to overtime for consecutive games, as they told Newsday’s Andrew Gross:
“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 continued while speaking to NewYorkIslanders.com’s Cory Wright…
“We were resilient,” Trotz said. “I don’t have a whole of complaints on the game, other than a little bit of a slow start and we had to battle back to get a point and we did.”
“We get it tied up and they go ahead. It’s tough mentally for a team that hasn’t won in a while,” Trotz said. “You ask your special teams to give you a boost and they did.”
Wahlstrom came through for his second power-play goal of the game to make it 3-3 at 12:33, as he one-timed a Mathew Barzal feed that deflected off of Carter Rowney’s stick and past Nedeljkovic. That capped an active night for 21-year-old, who finished with two goals, as well as 17 penalty minutes, the result of a fighting major and instigating penalty for dropping the gloves with Adam Erne after Erne laid out Anthony Beauvillier.
The second power-play goal was enough to send the game to overtime, but that’s as far as the Isles would get for a second-straight game. Detroit outshot the Islanders 5-1 in the extra frame, culminating in Seider’s one-timer at 3:33 to power the Red Wings to their fifth-straight victory.
“Pretty good hockey game, obviously we’re frustrated not getting the two points,” Barzal said. “We have to turn the page quickly here, we have a big one tomorrow at home. We need to get one at home in front of our fans, so it was nice to get a point on the road. It’s not what we ultimately want, but we’ll be ready tomorrow.”
NHL.com’s Dave Hogg’s recap will serve as our pivot point between the Islanders and Red Wings‘ perspectives:
“I thought we played well tonight, so it is disappointing to not get two points out of this one,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We got a boost from our special teams, we created chances and we played well defensively. We could have gotten two points, but we got one.”
Seider scored from the left face-off circle for his second overtime goal of the season and gave the Red Wings their fifth straight victory. It is their longest winning streak since they won six in a row March 23-April 2, 2019.
“I knew that if I missed the one-timer, it was going to be a 2-on-1 break the other way,” the rookie defenseman said. “I think the whole team has gained a lot of confidence from this winning streak.”
“I think we made a conscious effort to defend the inside of the ice tonight,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “When you are willing to sacrifice and block shots, you are rewarded with chances at the other end.”
“It was great to get the power play going tonight, but we can’t expect to win games without scoring at even strength,” Wahlstrom said.
As the Associated Press’s recap focused on Detroit’s resilient play:
Moritz Seider scored 3:33 into overtime and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Islanders 4-3 Saturday night, handing New York its 10th straight loss. Filip Hronek, Sam Gagner and Givani Smith also scored for the Red Wings, who won their season-high fifth straight. Alex Nedeljkovic had 20 saves.
”This wasn’t our best game, but we have that swagger and confidence now,” Seider said. ”We have an ability to stick together and win these games somehow.”
Oliver Wahlstrom had two power-play goals, Cal Clutterbuck scored short-handed, and Mathew Barzal had two assists as the Islanders earned a point for the second straight game and fell to 0-8-2 during their skid. Ilya Sorokin finished with 26 saves.
”We had the power play working, but we can’t expect to get all of our goals that way,” Wahlstrom said. ”We have to find a way to get some goals at 5-on-5 if we want to win games.”
In the extra period, Seider scored on a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Pius Suter.
”(Seider) has got a good swagger and a good way of rising in the moment,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. ”And, he certainly rose in that moment.”
Seider spoke with the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan about his “new wheels”–kids these days wear new skates right away, which astonishes a 43-year-old like me–and the Red Wings’ would-be collective “swagger”:
Seider’s one-timer from the left dot at 3 minutes, 33 seconds of overtime extended the Red Wings’ (13-9-3) win streak to five games – and they’ve earned points in six games (5-0-1).
“It wasn’t our best game but we have that swagger now and that confidence and our ability to stick together and win those games,” Seider said.
Maybe it was the skates that Seider wore that spurred that overtime goal?
“Actually I just tried them out this morning and they felt pretty good, so I was feeling it a little bit,” said Seider, who played a career- and season-high 27 minutes, 19 seconds.
Seider became the first rookie defenseman in franchise history, and the fifth rookie blueliner in NHL history, to net multiple overtime goals in a single season. Seider is also the only rookie in the NHL this season with multiple overtime winners.
“Nobody wants to go to overtime,” Seider said. “But it’s always nice to get a little more time and space on the ice and you play against the best players, so it’s always a treat to be out there.”
Coach Jeff Blashill told Kulfan that the Wings are indeed earning a measure of collective confidence:
“I don’t think there’s any doubt when you win and you’re successful you gain confidence,” Blashill said. “Just like an individual player that gets points, you get confidence. The thing I would say, in this league, confidence is fleeting, so we have to keep earning it every game.”
“(We’re) finding ways to win,” Blashill said. “By no means have these been perfect games. There have been a lot of areas we have to keep getting better at, but we have found ways to win and part of that is you can compete yourself past mistakes at times.”
As the Free Press’s Helene St. James noted, with one more home game on Tuesday vs. Nashville kicking off a 3-games-in-4-nights stretch, the Wings have become “Home Warriors“…
The Wings improved to 13-9-3, and 9-2-2 at LCA.
“It’s always nice playing at home,” Seider said. “I think we’ve just gained a lot of confidence.”
Filip Hronek and Sam Gagner buried an Islanders lead in the first period, and Givani Smith undid a tie in the second period when he strode up the left flank and scored bar down. Oliver Wahlstrom scored twice to force the game past regulation. Alex Nedeljkovic made 20 saves to push the Islanders’ winless skid to 10.
Seider scored on a one-timer at 3:33, showing off how much work he’s done on that aspect of his game.
“One of the things we would have said he needed to get better at over the last couple years would be his one-timer,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s worked at it. That’s what the really good players do, they work at it and they get rewarded. He’s got a way of rising in the moment, and he certainly rose in that moment.”
Givani Smith was impressive in limited minutes, as Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen noted…
The Red Wings have been hoping that Givani Smith would start taking his game to the next level this season. He’s been a disappointment. Too inconsistent. But against the Islanders, he took a small step. He didn’t even play eight minutes in this game, but ended up with a goal, an assist and three blocked shots. One of his blocked shots led to his goal as he raced down the ice and scored on a nice shot.
The reason why Smith didn’t play much as he doesn’t play on special teams, and Blashill was playing the match-up game.
“We just didn’t get him out there as much as he deserved,” Blashill said. “But if he keeps playing like that, and doing that over and over, you earn more minutes.”
While the Wings’ defense played significant time due to Gustav Lindstrom suffering a “lower-body injury” mid-way through the 2nd period:
In addition to Moritz Seider playing big minutes, Filip Hronek played more than 24 minutes and Nick Leddy was at 21:48.
“The shifts were a little shorter after that,” Seider said. “We just tried to keep it simple as much as possible. Sometimes it’s not the pretty way, just finding a way, chip it out and go to work in the O-zone. I think we did that really well most of the time. Didn’t have a lot of odd man rushes from what I saw and I think that’s a big plus there, too.
Depending on the severity of Lidstrom’s injury, this could be a difficult situation. They’ve already lost Troy Stecher to a long-term injury
The following three quotes from DetroitRedWings.com’s Jonathan Mills’ recap will take us out:
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill on the winning streak: “Our guys understand that we have to keep getting better and they’re not satisfied that our game isn’t nearly perfect, and we need to keep striving for that perfection. But with that said, I do think you can work and can compete yourself past mistakes, and I think we have done that. I think that’s part of grinding out wins. Part of it is staying with it, part of it is guys stepping up to big moments and we’ve had all those things. Whether it be a goalie, a player making a big play in overtime, guys have stepped up in big moments.”
Blashill on the production from the Red Wings’ third and fourth lines: “You’re not winning if you don’t have scoring throughout your lineup over a long period of time. Maybe Edmonton, but outside of that, it just is impossible. So, nobody is going to score every night and you need different guys to step up. I think Rasmussen’s line has played really well here lately. I think Rowney, whatever line he has been part of, has played really well lately. So, I think it’s really important that you get scoring throughout your lineup.”
Moritz Seider on Detroit’s current stretch of success: “It’s always nice playing at home, obviously. It’s great playing in front of the fans in Little Caesars [Arena]. I think we just gained a lot of confidence during that four-game winning streak. Now, it wasn’t our best game, but I think we have that swagger now and that confidence, and our ability to just stick together and win those games somehow.”
Highlights: Sportsnet posted an 8:21 highlight clip:
NHL.com posted a 9:01 highlight clip:
Post-game: The New York Islanders prefer to post their post-game availabilities via Twitter, so Mat Barzal and Oliver Wahlstrom appeared together…
As did Noah Dobson and Cal Clutterbuck…
And here’s coach Barry Trotz:
Moritz Seider gave a post-game interview to Bally Sports Detroit’s Trevor Thompson:
And BSD posted 2:33 of coach Jeff Blashill’s post-game remarks:
Mickey Redmond remembered some fond memories of Alex Delvecchio:
WXYZ’s Brad Galli posted Seider and coach Blashill’s full media availabilities:
The Red Wings also posted a 3:25 combined clip of Seider and Blashill’s remarks:
Photos: The Free Press posted a 14-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 10-image gallery;
NHL.com posted a 66-image gallery.