Datsyuk's lone Wings goal hits another milestone
New York — The best player in the NHL last week started off this week in star fashion.
Pavel Datsyuk, named the NHL’s First Star for last week’s offensive explosion, scored the Red Wings’ lone goal in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
Datsyuk had seven points (five goals, two assists) in four games last week, while helping the Red Wings earn seven of eight points (3-0-1) in the standings.
Datsyuk became the sixth player in franchise history to reach the 900-point milestone in Sunday’s victory over Boston.
With Monday’s goal, Datsyuk moved past Brendan Shanahan into seventh place in Red Wings’ all-time list with 310 career goals.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised, he’s playing the way he’s always been,” linemate Henrik Zetterberg said. “He gets older with age but he keeps playing the way he’s always been.
“When I look back on my career, he’s probably going to be the player I’m most proud of playing with.”
Datsyuk got a late start to this season after undergoing ankle surgery early in the summer. It took Datsyuk a while to get going offensively, but Zetterberg is seeing Datsyuk getting into a “groove.
“When he gets into the game and gets into that groove, and he enjoys playing, he’s dangerous,” Zetterberg said. “He’s having a lot of fun right now.”
Datsyuk’s hot streak last week coincided with coach Jeff Blashill reuniting Datsyuk and Zetterberg with Justin Abdelkader a big, bruising presence on the other wing.
Blashill, also, figured it would just be a matter of time before Datsyuk’s offensive game clicked into gear.
“He was getting lots of chances and we all know when Pavel gets that many chances, he’s going to score,” Blashill said. “He was getting a little frustrated because he wasn’t scoring as much as he wanted.
“My message was keep doing what you’re doing. Sometimes you have to keep grinding and doing exactly what you’re doing. In the end, he was able to score because he kept at it.”
There’s obviously back-to-back games in the NHL but this was about as tight and difficult as a team will face.
Monday’s game against the Islanders in Brooklyn, New York ended about the identical time — 3:30 p.m. (EST) — as when the Red Wings started Sunday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against Boston.
At times, it seemed the Red Wings’ energy level wasn’t all there.
“I don’t think we skated good enough,” forward Gustav Nyquist said. “Coming off a big win yesterday, we should have been energized but we weren’t energized enough coming into this building.
“We have to be better.”
Said forward Darren Helm: “It’s kind of silly how they set this up. You’d think they’d give us a little more time.”
In a situation like this, the Red Wings were looking to score first and get some momentum.
But after a scoreless first period, the Islanders scored three second-period goals and had the Red Wings reeling.
“Every team is going to go through it at some point,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “You have to find a way to get that first goal. We couldn’t find that first one.”
The Red Wings had defeated the Islanders twice this season — and soundly both times.
So it was a bit satisfying for the Islanders to avoid a season-sweep, while outplaying the Red Wings most of the afternoon.
“I liked our work ethic and compete level,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “I know they played (against) Boston (Sunday), but they got a lot of skill. We checked very well and we had good sticks.”
The Islanders were also coming off an ugly 6-3 loss Saturday in Carolina.
“Just a good bounce-back game,” said forward Josh Bailey, who scored a goal. “We responded well. They played us hard the last couple of times, (so) it was a good confidence win for us.”
Jonathan Ericsson (lower body) missed his second consecutive game, with Xavier Ouellet replacing Ericsson in the lineup. Ericsson’s availability continues to be day to day.
… Blashill felt the Red Wings had too many unforced errors.
“We turned the puck over too many times in the first (period) when we really weren’t under any pressure,” Blashill said. “Our approach was good. They gained momentum when they scored and we weren’t able to score on some of our chances.”
…Teemu Pulkkinen remains the odd man out among the forwards. Pulkkinen was a healthy scratch for the seventh consecutive game.
… Monday’s Presidents Day matinee produced only the sixth sellout this season at Barclays Center for the Islanders - a capacity (for hockey) crowd of 15,795.