ELMONT, N.Y. — The Detroit Red Wings ended their dads trip and entered their week off unable to take advantage of a team that has been crumbling.
There wasn’t much energy to Friday’s outing against the New York Islanders — the Wings’ third game in four nights and second of a back-to-back — with fathers and a couple brothers in the stands at UBS Arena. The Wings came out of it on the short end of a 2-0 final, again unable to string together more than two victories in a row.
It was a disappointing way to go into a weeklong break, losing to a team that had won just twice in its previous 13 games. It was 1-0 after two periods but the Wings’ shot at rallying diminished when Brock Nelson used Anders Lee as a screen to score early in the third period.
“I didn’t think we played a bad road games, we just couldn’t generate offense,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “You certainly take the 27 shots we gave up and the goals against, to give you a chance on the road; we just didn’t do enough offensively.”
The Wings went 0-for-4 with a man advantage and while they were shorthanded four times, too, it hardly mattered against the Islanders, who hadn’t converted on their previous 20 opportunities coming into the game. Not even pulling Magnus Hellberg (26 saves) with more than two minutes to spare made a dent in Ilya Sorokin (23 saves).
“I”m really proud of the way we played,” Dylan Larkin said. “It was tough travel and we’re going into a break. It could easily be one to, yes we have our dads here, but it could be one we don’t show up for and we did. We just didn’t get past Sorokin.”
The Wings next play Feb. 7 at home against the Edmonton Oilers.
Hellberg gets another chance
Hellberg made his first appearance since Jan. 17 at Arizona, when Derek Lalonde called him out for letting in the last two regulation goals, while also lauding Hellberg for his overtime performance. Hellberg got an opportunity to serve as backup as a result of Alex Nedeljkovic’s struggles, but he has let in numerous soft goals despite delivering stretches of solid goaltending. When the Wings come out of the break, it’s likely they will recall Nedeljkovic, and that could land Hellberg back on waivers.
Lindstrom draws in
Defenseman Gustav Lindstrom likewise was back in the lineup for the first time since the Arizona game. It was only his 21st appearance of the season, after playing 63 games last season. Though he generally plays a simple, smart game, he has had a hard time convincing the new coaching staff to put him in over veteran Jordan Oesterle.
There wasn’t much going offensively from either side through 40 minutes; shots were 18-18. The Islanders took a 1-0 lead early in the second period when Brock Nelson intercepted Olli Määttä’s attempt to play the puck up the boards and centered a pass that Kyle Palmieri touched before Anders Lee managed to poke it into Detroit’s net, even as he was on his belly. The Wings weren’t able to generate much in the way of quality chances against All-Star goalie Ilya Sorokin, but they had some decent looks among nine shots on net their first three power plays.
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