Detroit Red Wings blitzed early by New York Islanders in 5-2 loss

Detroit Free Press

The New York Islanders used a timeout to welcome back former teammate Thomas Greiss and the game to make him feel anything but.

Greiss allowed a goal nine seconds into Thursday’s game at UBS Arena, and as hard as they worked, the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t recover from a first-period deficit. They lost for the eighth time in 10 games, falling 5-2.

The Wings (26-31-7) outshot the Islanders, 39-26.

Pius Suter scored at 13:25 of the third period when he tipped Filip Hronek’s shot, but Brock Nelson scored his second of the night within a minute. Sam Gagner scored off a setup by Jakub Vrana at 15:18.

[THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Red Wings’ ‘Fight Night’ vs. Colorado Avalanche remains an ‘incredible night’]

Greiss allowed two goals on five shots in the first period, while Ilya Sorokin blanked the Wings on their 13 shots. Greiss sustained a hit during the second period, and while he finished the period, Alex Nedeljkovic took over in the third period. Like Greiss, Nedeljkovic gave up a goal on the first shot he faced, when Josh Bailey finished a drop pass from Kyle Palmieri.

Coach Jeff Blashill said Greiss had to come out of the game, because he was hurt.

The Wings next play the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday at home, and play at dthe Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

Hronek’s struggles

Suter was credited with winning the opening draw, but the puck came loose, and Hronek had a chance to make a play with it, But the defenseman was pressured by Anders Lee, who won the puck battle. Lee got the puck in the corner and passed it to the slot, where Anthony Beauvillier tapped it stick-side on Greiss. Hronek picked up another minus on the Islanders’ second goal. Matthew Barzal got the puck in his own zone and skated up ice, playing it off the boards to himself as he eluded Hronek, pulled up in the left circle, and found Oliver Wahlstrom.

[DIFFERENT DAYS: Maltby says McCarty would be tossed from Wings-Avs’ ‘Fight Night’ in today’s NHL]

Special teams disappoint

At 16:12 of the first period, newcomer Jake Walman drew a penalty from Wahlstrom; at 16:32, Moritz Seider drew a penalty from Jean-Gabriel Pageau. That gave the Wings 1:41 with a two-man advantage, at a time the score was 2-0. Seider got a shot on net from the blue line, and Vrana had a couple shots from the right circle, but Sorokin saw everything. The penalty kill disappointed in the second period, when Lee dropped a pass between Hronek and Suter to Brock Nelson, who chipped a wrist shot behind Greiss. The Wings fell to 0-for-3 on power plays when Wahlstrom went for goalie interference after bowling over Greiss at 14:11 of the second period.

Pearson debuts

Givani Smith (injury) and Filip Zadina (sick) were unavailable, and that gave Chase Pearson the chance to make his NHL debut. The 6-foot-3 Pearson brings size and the ability to play center or wing. He started on a line with Gagner and Michael Rasmussen. It was a good reward for Pearson, who has 17 points in 47 games with the Griffins. Pearson was drafted at No. 140 overall in 2015, and, after three seasons at Maine, turned pro. Pearson said his dad and step-mom would be at the game; fittingly, his dad, Scott Pearson, played the last of his 292 NHL games in an Islanders uniform.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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