The Islanders took a 4-3 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings on New Years Eve, just two days after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both the Red Wings and the Penguins are at the top of the standings in their respective conferences. Indisputably, back-to-back wins in games like these bring confidence for the Islanders who have now recorded 6-1-1 in their last eight games.
“It’s a good way to finish this half (of the season),” Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson said. “Any time you play two teams like we just did, it takes a lot of tenacious work, a lot of patience playing against the skill and playing right, playing a smart hockey game and a simple game. We have to give our guys credit. They followed the game plan to a tee. The coaching staff had everyone well prepared.”
In order to get there, the Islanders (11-19-6) had to shut down the Red Wings (24-9-5) power play. They were tied for third in the league with a 23.5 percentage before failing on all five attempts in the Islanders matchup on New Years Eve.
“Their power play is probably the hottest in the NHL,” Roloson said. “They went from ninth in the league up to the third in a matter of a few games. So for our guys, it just goes to show digging in on our PK and blocking shots, even against Pittsburgh the other game 4-on-3, and you have guys blocking shots and doing the little things to allow us to win a hockey game.”
The Islanders stole the win out from under the Red Wings. It was Roloson who had another outstanding performance between the pipes, as he faced 41 shots and made 38 saves in 63:57 of play.
“(Roloson) has been unreal for us,” Parenteau said. “Every time he’s been between the pipes, he gives us the chance to win. I feel like his game is getting better with age. It’s good that we have two really good goalies right now and that’s going to be big down the stretch.”
Penalties characterized the overtime period. Blake Comeau took a penalty for tripping at 58 seconds. But Henrik Zetterberg returned the favor as he took a penalty for holding just 1:26 later. This provided the Islanders the 59-second 4-on-3 opportunity they needed to win the game. PA Parenteau scored the game-winning goal with a shot from the left faceoff circle as John Tavares found him with a pass from the slot at 3:57.
“(Tavares) looked at the point and he saw me; then he gave it to me without looking,” Parenteau said. “It was a pretty sick play actually, to put it in the back of the net. It’s a good feeling. The boys are pretty happy right now.”
Zenon Konopka #28 of the New York Islanders battles for the puck with Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on December 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
With less than 10 minutes to go in regulation, the Islanders held a 3-2 lead, but Tomas Tatar scored the game-tying goal for the Red Wings at 10:18 to send the game into overtime. Valtteri Filppula scored at 19:51 of the second period when Roloson was on his back as Todd Bertuzzi was causing interference.
Konopka won 65 percent of the faceoffs he took (winning 13 of 20) at Joe Louis Arena. Those faceoffs led to two straight goals for the Islanders, giving them a 3-1 lead over the Red Wings.
The second came at 15:13 of the second period when Konopka won the faceoff and he slid the puck to Matt Martin. As Martin tipped the puck back to Milan Jurcina at the point, his slap shot was tipped in by Jesse Joensuu.
The first goal off the faceoff came with 2.7 seconds left in the first period after Konopka won the faceoff and passed the puck to Bruno Gervais at the top of the circle who found Tavares in the slot for a backhanded goal.
“It was key,” Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano said about the faceoffs. “It was something we addressed. We always want to address it, but Z (Konopka) did a great job. Zenon did a good job winning the faceoffs and we got pucks to the net with net presence. We got, not lucky, but fortunate that they went in.”
It was Johan Franzen who gave the Red Wings the early lead when he scored the first goal of the game at 11:52 of the first period. But the Red Wings couldn’t keep the lead for even two minutes as Bertuzzi took a penalty for interference at 13:17 and Matt Moulson scored a power play goal (tipped in by Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings) when he deflected Andrew MacDonald’s slap shot from the blueline just 90 seconds later to tied the score at one.
The Islanders look to continue their win streak as they continue on their five game road trip against their Western Conference foes when they take on the Calgary Flames on January 3.