The New York Islanders scored three first-period goals and Evgeni Nabokov turned in a 23-save shutout en route to a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner and Casey Cizikas lit the lamp in a span of 5:58 of the first period, marking the third straight game the Isles scored three or more goals.
After shelling the Red Wings in the first, the Islanders played tight defense, preserving Nabokov's 56th career shutout.
“We competed hard and the way we wanted to,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We got some timely goals, nice goals. We played pretty hard against a pretty good team.”
Okposo kicked off the scoring blitz, finishing a two-on-one rush with John Tavares at 10:57 of the first period. The early goal held up as the game-winner, Okposo’s first of the season and extended his point streak to four games (two goals and two assists).
Just over four minutes later, Grabner put the Isles up by two, corralling a deflected pass and snapping it top corner past Peter Mrazek. The Austrian sniper netted his third goal in as many games. Casey Cizikas then capped off the Islanders breakout at 16:55, burying a goalline feed from Windsor, Ont., native Matt Martin.
“There’s no better feeling than winning in front of your family and friends,” Martin said. “We played a pretty complete game. There were surges back and forth, but we stuck to it, worked hard and found a way to win.”
The Red Wings responded in the second period, outshooting the Islanders 11-2 in the middle frame and 23-19 overall. Pavel Datsyuk had the Wings' best attempt of the period, ripping a shot from the slot, but Nabokov came far out of his crease and said nyet to his countryman.
Aside from two posts in the third period, the Isles kept the Wings chances to a minimum, earning their fourth straight victory at Joe Louis arena.
“For us, a win against this type of team is huge,” Nabokov said. “That’s part of experience. You have to figure out how to win. Hopefully we did that today.”
Frans Nielsen’s helper extended his point streak to four games (two goals and two assists), while Thomas Vanekand Josh Bailey preserved their three-game point streaks with assists.
“We got a big two points. We can definitely feel good about it going into the break,” Martin said. “We have a lot of work to do to get ourselves back in this thing, but tonight was a good start.”
The Islanders get a four-day break over the Christmas holiday, returning to host the New Jersey Devils Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI