It was a physical affair on Saturday night, as the Detroit Red Wings hosted the New York Islanders.
Detroit dominated the first period. Justin Abdelkader scored five minutes into the game as Dylan Larkin led the charge, with his rebound resulting in an easy chip-in for veteran forward Abdelkader.
Seconds later it Martin Frk scored when a Christoffer Ehn pass/shot hit his stick blade before re-directing past goalie Thomas Greiss near the crease. However, the goal was called back due to Frk being offsides on the zone entry.
The Wings didn’t let that ruin their strong momentum. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall made it 2-0 with a blueline wrist shot with Larkin also assisting on that effort.
Two minutes later, the Swedish defenseman ‘Kronwalled’ big-bodied Isles forward Anders Lee, as Kronwall has been known to do over the course of his long career. Lee was trying to corral a bouncing puck in his skates when Kronwall leaned him to him. Lee’s head was looking down and he did not see the hit coming at the blueline. Not many players guard the blueline quite like he does.
The Isles would retaliate over the next few shifts, culminating in forward Josh Bailey performing a swiping hit on Kronwall behind the play, along the glass. Larkin charged at Bailey and the two fought, with the young Red Wing getting a couple good shots in before finishing the period in the dressing room.
The second period was all Isles, but with the same aggressive, physical play. Casey Cizikas scored after Ross Johnston passed to him near the crease from behind the net.
Very shortly later, Ryan Pulock scored 10 seconds into a 35 second two-man advantage, as Detroit took 3 penalties in a short amount of time. Josh Bailey and Matthew Barzal assisted on the power play marker.
Lots of pushing and shoving occurred later in the period. Abdelkader squared off with Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk got in a stunning punch to start the fight and Abby struggled to recover, getting a few hits in. Concurrently, along the bench, Jonathan Ericsson and Brock Nelson exchanged words and shoves. Abdelkader’s face and visor were covered in blood as the scrums subsided.
Matt Martin scored the third unanswered goal for New York in the third period and the Isles hung on for the 3-2 victory.
Despite the loss, Detroit has been doing well of late. To start the month of December, they defeated the Boston Bruins on the road, only allowed one normal goal in a 2-0 loss to Colorado, lost a nail-biting 6-5 victory against the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning, and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime. The recent competition has been tough, but this young and injured team is not falling behind the pack.
Currently, Danny DeKeyser is out with a hand injury (from Dec. 5), as is Anthony Mantha from the same injury (from Dec. 4). Trevor Daley and Darren Helm have been out since mid-to-late November.
The Wings have four games this week: vs. LA (Monday 7:30 ET), @ Washington (Tuesday 7:30), vs. Ottawa (Friday 7:30), and @ New York Islanders (Saturday, 7:00).