Tue, 07 Jul 2020

Skidding Islanders aim to get back on track vs. Wings

Field Level Media
21 Feb 2020, 10:25 GMT+10

Few teams in the NHL could use a break right now more than the New York Islanders.

However with no rest on the horizon, the closest thing to a respite for the Islanders could be a visit from the Detroit Red Wings on Friday in Uniondale, N.Y.

The Islanders were off Thursday after completing their worst road trip in more than six years Wednesday, when they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Colorado Avalanche to finish an 0-4-0 trek.

The Red Wings haven't played since Tuesday, when they snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Islanders arrive home after a Western Conference road trip in which they were outscored 11-2. It was the longest winless road trip for New York since an 0-4-0 stretch from Nov. 5-10, 2013.

That trip set the tone for a season in which the Islanders finished last in the Metropolitan Division. New York can only hope there's enough time to prove this winless trek won't define a season that once appeared destined to include a deep playoff run.

The Islanders set a franchise record with a 17-game point streak (15-0-2) from Oct. 12 to Nov. 23, but they are just 17-17-4 since.

New York's three-game homestand against a trio of non-contenders -- the NHL-worst Red Wings, the San Jose Sharks (Sunday) and rival Rangers (Tuesday) -- offers a chance for the undermanned club to regain its footing. Fourth-liners Cal Clutterbuck (wrist) and Casey Cizikas (leg) are both out indefinitely, and Derick Brassard sustained an upper-body injury Wednesday night.

"Right now we're going through some adversity, some guys are drying up, we've got some people out and we need some people to step up," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said Wednesday night. "We can't look back on this trip, we can't do anything (to) repair this trip, but we can repair our next game and the following game and focus on what's ahead of us."

A spot near the top of the June draft is next for the Red Wings, who are in the midst of a massive rebuilding season. Detroit, however, has proven it can play the role of spoiler.

The Red Wings own a pair of multi-goal victories over NHL-leading Boston Bruins, whom Detroit defeated 4-2 on Nov. 8 and 3-1 on Feb. 9.

And the win Tuesday capped a four-game season sweep of the Canadiens, whose inability to beat the Red Wings likely is the difference between playing out the string and battling for a playoff spot.

The Red Wings had lost eight straight games to the Canadiens prior to this season.

"It's one of those things you can't explain," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Tuesday night. "It isn't like we have great matchups against them, and before this, there was a long stretch where they totally owned us."

--Field Level Media

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