Wings allow goal on first shift, drop 5-2 decision against Islanders
Elmont, N.Y. — The Red Wings' first trip into the sparking UBS Arena — and this place sure isn't the relic that was Nassau Coliseum — wasn't memorable.
Allowing a goal on the first shift set a bad omen for Thursday's evening, as the Red Wings lost 5-2 to the New York Islanders.
Pius Suter (13th goal) and Sam Gagner (eighth) had late third-period goals for the Wings.
"We didn't start well and we didn't have enough offensive zone time until the second and third periods," forward Dylan Larkin said. "It's a team that likes to play at home and you have to be better at the start. It's an unfortunate play to start and we're down 1-0 nine seconds in, but we have to find a way to make it 1-1."
Brock Nelson had two goals, Anthony Beauvillier, Oliver Wahlstrom and Josh Bailey had the Islanders' goals, spoiling the return of Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss back on Long Island.
Greiss was a hugely popular Islander over the five years he was part of the organization, and received hearty applause during a video tribute early in the first period.
But Greiss' recent struggles continued, as he lost his fourth consecutive decision and now hasn't won a game since Feb. 17 against the New York Rangers.
Greiss was replaced after two periods, but it was injury related. Greiss was ran over by Wahlstrom with six minutes left in the second period, and looked to be somewhat dazed.
Alex Nedeljkovic played the third period and stopped eight of 10 shots.
"Yow saw what happened, he (Greiss) had to come out of the game," coach Jeff Blashill said. "He was hurt, injured, and he had to come out of the game."
The Wings (26-31-7) have won only three games in their last 11 (3-7-1). They haven't won two consecutive games since Feb. 9-12, both games against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"It is frustrating, not being able to string some (victories) together," Larkin said. "We have guys out of the lineup but we have to find a way to start getting on a roll."
The Islanders (28-25-9) have won eight of their last 11 (8-2-1) in a late-season surge. Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin made 37 saves.
"It's a very frustrating start, it's not what we were looking for at all, but we had to play and we didn't really show up until the third period," Larkin said.
The start was as disappointing and shocking as could be imagined.
The Islanders won the faceoff and knocked the puck into the zone, where Islanders forward Anders Lee knocked the stick out of Filip Hronek's hands along the boards.
Lee centered a pass to Beauvillier in the slot, and Beauvillier made no mistake, getting his 10th goal just nine seconds into the game (second fastest in Islanders franchise history).
Often a cliche such as most fans weren't even in their seats is accompanied by such a quick goal. Certainly on Beauvillier's goal on the first shift of the game, nine seconds into the game, yes, most fans were still working their way into the arena.
"When you get scored on off the opening draw, that's a kick for sure," Blashill said.
Still, Blashill was satisfied how the Wings showed some resolve and limited the Islanders' chances from there, out-shooting the Islanders 13-5 in the period.
"When you look at the overall game we didn't give up a ton," Blashill said. "When we broke down, we broke down too big, and it's not a team you want to give up a 2-0 lead (against)."
Greiss settled in and made a pair of nice stops before the Islanders extended the lead on Wahlstrom's goal. Islanders forward Mathew Barzal carried the puck into the zone with speed, whirled, and found Wahlstrom trailing. Wahlstrom whistled a shot short-side on Greiss, Wahlstrom's 12th goal, giving the Islanders a 2-0 lead.
The Wings had a prime opportunity to get back into the game late in the period on consecutive power plays, including 1:41 of a two-man advantage.
The momentum had begun to sway the Wings' side, and getting a power play opportunity seemed like a chance to increase that momentum.
"We had looks, we had shots, we didn't get our big one-timers, we had shots from the outside," Larkin said. "We have to find a way. Bert (Tyler Bertuzzi) has a look back door and it just doesn't go in. We have to keep trying. We have to get one to go in there."
Blashill felt the inability to convert at that juncture was a crucial point of the game, given the score and how the game began.
"It's always a turning point when you're down and get a five-on-three for that long, you have to score," Blashill said. "You want to score at any point but certainly when you're down 2-0 and you have a five-on-three, you have to find a way to score. That's a big moment."
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