NEW YORK — The New York Islanders are expected to achieve a goal decades in the making Wednesday afternoon, when a press conference will be held on Long Island announcing the Islanders’ owners have won their bid to build a new arena on the Nassau/Queens border.
Now an even bigger challenge awaits for the Islanders: Fixing one of the leakiest goaltending units in the NHL.
The Detroit Red Wings scored the final four goals Tuesday night as they overcame a drastic disadvantage in shots to beat the Islanders 6-3 at Barclays Center.
The Red Wings were outshot 37-22 but were playing on a particularly titled ice in the first two periods, when they were outshot 32-10, including 23-4 in the second. But Detroit managed to enter the second intermission in a 3-3 tie thanks to Anthony Mantha’s goal with 4:45 remaining.
“A bit lucky for us, we (hadn’t) played that great,” said Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg, who collected three assists to earn first star honors. “But we were in the game. Just wanted to go out and play a good 20 minutes and that’s what we did and got two points.”
Zetterberg assisted on Mantha’s goal — he missed a back-handed shot into a wide-open right corner of the net before Mantha put back the rebound — as well as on Trevor Daley’s game-winner with 9:57 remaining in the third.
The Red Wings added insurance goals when Mike Green scored with 5:48 left and Luke Glendening produced an empty-netter with 28.1 seconds remaining.
“There’s no question about it, through the first two periods, really, I think we were fortunate to be in the game,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I will say this, though: I thought we came out in the third and played great. I thought we really played hard. I thought we played to win. I thought we made a lot of plays. I thought we skated and I thought we won lots of puck battles.”
Martin Frk and Gustav Nyquist scored in the first period for the Red Wings (13-13-7), who have won two straight following a hard-luck 11-game skid in which they went 1-5-5. Goalie Petr Mrazek, making his first start since Dec. 2, recorded 34 saves.
“We’ve played lots of really good games this year where we haven’t won,” Blashill said. “And this wasn’t our best game, but we found a way to win. We have to do that also.”
The seventh loss in the last 10 games for the Islanders (18-13-3) dampened the good mood of an announced crowd of 10,511 that arrived at Barclays hours after Newsday reported the franchise’s owners won a bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park. A press conference announcing the move back to Long Island is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Islanders played at Nassau Coliseum from the club’s inception in 1972 until moving to Brooklyn in 2015. But fans have been displeased by the longer commute to Barclays Center as well as the arena’s poor hockey sight lines.
“A good note in, I think, a frustrating time,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said. “I think it’s great for the fans, it’s great for the organization and everybody involved from the owners, they worked hard. Obviously I’ve heard what you heard and it feels like it’s going to be good news.”
The Islanders could certainly use some better news regarding their goaltenders. New York ranks second in the league in goals scored (121) and goals allowed (120).
Thomas Greiss, making his third straight start Tuesday, recorded 16 saves. Greiss and fellow co-starter Jaroslav Halak have combined for a save percentage of .871 in the last 10 games.
Weight, who has said the defensive struggles are a team-wide issue, continued to defend his goalies Tuesday night.
“Yes, I have confidence in my goalies, of course I do,” said a curt Weight, who added he was “(ticked) off” about the Islanders’ current predicament.
“They’re going through a rough time now,” Weight said. “It gets in your head and you feel like you cant give anything up.”
Anders Lee, Ryan Pulock and Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders. Bailey, who has scored a goal in three straight games (five total) and recorded a point in six consecutive contests (11 points), was named the third star of the week by the NHL on Monday.
NOTES: The Islanders scratched C Shane Prince (conditioning stint) as well as D Thomas Hickey and C Alan Quine. ... Islanders D Calvin de Haan (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve Monday with an injury sustained in Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Newsday reported de Haan could miss the rest of the regular season. Hickey, who missed the previous four games with an upper-body injury, was activated in a corresponding move. ... The Red Wings scratched LW David Booth and D Xavier Ouellet. ... Red Wings G Petr Mrazek played a full game for the first time since Nov. 9.