Maybe it was the emotion from watching members of the Islanders’ four-time Stanley Cup winning teams gather for the raising of John Tonelli’s No. 27 into the rafters before the game or the fact they were in the midst of their worst losing streak of the season, but the Islanders brought something extra Friday night.
Sure, they were playing host to the Red Wings, who are now officially eliminated from playoff contention despite having 20 games left on their schedule, but the Islanders came away with a strong 4-1 victory over Detroit at the Coliseum.
Jordan Eberle recorded his first hat trick as an Islander, scoring once in each period to help secure the win and end the Islanders’ season-worst four-game losing skid. The victory completed the Islanders’ three-game season sweep of Detroit.
The Islanders — who were coming off a road trip, where the team scored just two goals, racked up 40 shots on net — including 20 in the second period.
Holding Detroit to just two shots in the first period, the Islanders looked like a team not willing to accept another loss. They even managed to record the best chance of the Red Wings’ first power play of the game at 14:02 off a shorthanded opportunity from Brock Nelson that deflected high into the crowd.
After Mathew Barzal carried the puck deep into the Red Wings’ zone, it was kicked back out to Ryan Pulock at the top of the right circle for a one-timer that deflected off of Eberle’s knee and past Detroit goalie Jonathan Bernier at 5:45 of the first to open the scoring.
It wasn’t until more than two minutes into the second period that the Red Wings recorded their third shot on goal. Andy Greene, who was traded from the Devils to the Islanders just three days ago, knocked away a cross-ice feed in front of the crease before Semyon Varlamov batted the puck out of danger.
Eberle put away his second of the night after taking a cross-ice pass from Barzal and wristing the puck top shelf with 2:58 left in the second to make it 2-0.
Buckling down in the third, the Islanders held Detroit to eight shots on goal. Andrew Ladd, who was making his season debut, was called for tripping at 15:56 of the final period. The Red Wings capitalized off the draw as Anthony Mantha found the back of the net at 17:30 to make it 2-1.
Larkin was then called for tripping seconds later, allowing Eberle to put the game out of reach with 36.3 seconds left in regulation. Leo Komarov chipped in with an empty netter as time expired.