The Detroit Red Wings didn’t want the struggling New York Islanders to gain traction on their visit to Little Caesars Arena.
There was much to appreciate Saturday: Wings legend Alex Delvecchio was at the game to celebrate his 90th birthday; Tigers legend Lou Whitaker was there, too, and longtime anthem singer Karen Newman made her first appearance of the season.
Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider made sure the final score was one to celebrate, too: He scored his third career goal, and second in overtime, to secure a 4-3 victory and stretch the Wings’ winning streak to five games, their longest since six in a row from March 23-April 2, 2019.
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.”
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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.”
Tyler Bertuzzi missed a second straight game because he is in COVID-19 protocol, and Gustav Lindstrom did not finish the game because of an upper-body injury
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Joe Veleno returned to the lineup after sitting out three games with an upper-body injury. Veleno began on a line with Pius Suter and Filip Zadina, supplanting Smith, who moved to the fourth line with Carter Rowney and Gagner. That’s a good spot for Veleno, who is big (6 feett 1, 205 pounds) and has a skill set better utilized when he’s with offensive-minded players. Veleno, 21, began the season in Grand Rapids, but it’s clear he belongs in Detroit.
The Wings came out of the first period with a lead thanks to Hronek firing a puck through traffic and behind Ilya Sorokin and Gagner firing a puck from behind the goal line that also went into the Islanders’ net. But the Wings had to play from behind because of egregious play during a man advantage. Cal Clutterbuck caught a pass as he exited his own zone and, as he entered Detroit’s zone, had an easy time getting around Zadina, who quit skating, and cutting to the net to stuff the puck on Nedeljkovic.
Special teams appear
The Wings gave up a goal on their first power play; that was 2:45 into the game. They were up 2-1 when they got their second power play, at 10:19, when Wahlstrom was called for going after Adam Erne, in response to Erne’s big check on Anthony Beauvillier. They then got 1:17 with two extra skaters when Scott Mayfield was called for delay of game. Dylan Larkin directed a slap shot at Sorokin, but on the whole, the Wings didn’t threaten much. The Islanders got their second goal during their first power play, when Wahlstrom converted after just 38 seconds. Wahlstrom — who the Islanders drafted in 2018 at No. 11, five spots after the Wings took Zadina — scored on another power play in the third period.
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