The Islanders run of 10 years without a regulation loss to the Detroit Red Wings ended Friday evening, as the home team fell 5-0 at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders last regulation loss to the Red Wings came on Black Friday 2003, and they had won five straight contests against the Wings prior to Friday. Darren Helm scored two goals, including the eventual winner at 7:09 of the first period, while Daniel Alfredsson had three points (2g/1a) and Jimmy Howard made 29 saves for the shutout.
With the loss, the Islanders fell to 0-2 on their current four-game homestand.
“We have to try and find some answers,” John Tavares said. “We are obviously an easy team to play against right now. We can’t wait for things to happen. It’s up to the guys in here.”
The game was within reach for the Islanders, who trailed by one late in the second period. With 3:11 remaining in the middle frame, a costly miscue between Kevin Poulin and Andrew MacDonald put the Islanders in a 2-0 hole. Helm, Poulin and MacDonald were all bearing down on a loose puck at the hash marks, but Helm reached the puck first and chipped it past Poulin as the trio collided for a shorthanded goal.
“I think everyone was very tentative,” Colin McDonald said. “But we have to find a way to come out of this.”
Alfredsson scored twice in the third period to extend the lead; his first came on a breakaway 12 seconds into the final frame. Gustav Nyquist scored six minutes later before Alfredsson potted his second at 16:13.
“We weren’t playing terrible early on,” Matt Martin said. “But we let in one, we let in two and we let in three and then it becomes an uphill battle from there. We have to find a way to stop the bleeding.”
Howard held off the Islanders offense, turning aside Tavares on a pair of pretty feeds from Thomas Vanek. His counterpart, Poulin, stopped 25-of-30 shots in his fifth straight start and ninth consecutive appearance.
The Islanders look to get back in the win column when they host the Washington Capitals Saturday night. Saturday marks the back end of the Isles seventh back-to-back set of the season and a chance to move past Friday’s loss.
“You have to have a pretty short-term memory and forget about what happened tonight,” McDonald said. “Hopefully (tomorrow’s game) that will get the ball rolling.”
The Islanders and Capitals face off at 7 p.m.