ISLANDERS VS. RED WINGS
Tuesday, 01.12.2010 / 7:00 PM
NHL.comRED WINGS (23-15-6) at ISLANDERS (19-19-8)
: Detroit 5-4-1; New York 6-3-1.
: This is the lone meeting between the teams. They last faced each other on March 27, 2009, when Joey MacDonald stopped all 42 shots he faced in the Islanders' 2-0 win against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
: After being ravaged by injuries the first half of the season, Detroit is finally starting to get healthy. Daniel Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg both returned during the team's West Coast trip and helped the Wings earn back-to-back victories in Los Angeles and San Jose, respectively. Cleary has two goals in as many games since re-joining the lineup.
: With three wins in its last four games, Detroit has been able to remain right in the mix for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Wings moved eight games above the .500 mark on Saturday night with a convincing 4-1 victory against the Sharks at HP Pavilion. It was their fourth win in five games.
"We know that the points are so crucial for us right now," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "Every point is important. That's one of the reasons we're extra pleased with the way we finished the trip, beating one of the top teams in our conference."
: As usual, the Isles did it the hard way on Saturday night, blowing yet another three-goal lead in Phoenix. But Matt Moulson scored the shootout winner as New York went 2-1-0 on its three-game road trip with a 5-4 win against the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
"These were two crucial points for us," Isles forward Josh Bailey
said. "If you don't get them, they'll nip you in the butt at the end of the year."
: Red Wings center Darren Helm has five goals in his last five games. … Bailey, who had 25 points last season as a rookie, has four goals and nine points during a six-game point streak for the Islanders.
: While Zetterberg and Cleary returned during the West Coast trip, the Red Wings lost power forward Tomas Holmstrom to a broken foot last Wednesday. He could miss up to a month. Detroit is also without Jonathan Ericsson (knee), Niklas Kronwall (sprained MCL), Jason Williams (leg), Johan Franzen (torn ACL) and Andreas Lilja (post-concussion syndrome). … New York is without defenseman Radek Martinek
(torn ACL) and forward Tim Jackman (orbital bone). Sean Bergenheim is healthy and could return to the lineup on Tuesday night.
: Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt, who has five points and a minus-18 rating this season, was a healthy scratch for the first time in four campaigns on Saturday night. Witt is one of the highest-paid players on the club at $3 million.
: "I've gotten the chance and I'm trying to make the most of the opportunity, giving the guys a chance to win, trying to outplay the other goalie. As quickly as things have happened, they can go away just as fast. I try not to think about anything else except doing my job." -- Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who has started 24 of the last 30 games