Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Cal Clutterbuck's short-handed goal early in the second period proved to be the game-winner as the New York Islanders earned a wild 5-4 decision over the Detroit Red Wings.
The recently slumping Islanders halted a seven-game home losing streak by getting major contributions from their special teams units. In addition to Clutterbuck's short-handed marker, New York received power-play goals from Brock Nelson, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen while going 3-of-4 with the man advantage.
"It was good to see we got rewarded," Isles captain John Tavares said of the team's power-play success "We had chances in the past few games and tonight we buried them."
Ryan Strome also scored for the Islanders, Tavares broke out of a slump by notching three assists and Jaroslav Halak overcame a brutal start in the win. The All-Star goaltender let up a pair of goals in the first two minutes, but just two more the rest of the way while registering 21 saves.
Counterpart Petr Mrazek, coming off a 23-save shutout of high-powered Tampa Bay on Saturday, was pulled 16 seconds into the second period after permitting four goals on 11 shots.
Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar recorded a goal and an assist for Detroit, which also received scores from Drew Miller and Niklas Kronwall.
Following a rapid-fire opening period in which the teams combined for six goals over the first 10 minutes of play, the Islanders continued to score at will during the early stages of the second.
Just 16 seconds into the middle stanza, Nielsen snapped a 3-3 tie with New York's third power-play tally of the night. Mrazek, who was unable to handle the forward's tough-angle wrister on an Islanders' rush, was yanked immediately after the goal.
A hooking penalty to New York's Brian Strait shortly afterward gave Detroit an opportunity to draw back even. Instead, Tatar misplayed the puck in the Islander zone and Clutterbuck scored on the resulting breakaway to extend the lead to 5-3.
Detroit was able to capitalize on its next chance with a man advantage. Halak made a stop on an attempt from Tatar, but couldn't recover in time to deny Datsyuk on the rebound with 9:40 left in the second.
Halak stood tall from that moment on, coming up with a tough save on Darren Helm with 5:21 remaining to protect the one-goal edge and keeping the Red Wings off the scoresheet the rest of the way.
The Red Wings appeared on their way to a rout after beating Halak twice in the first 1:46 of the game. Tatar swooped in to knock in the rebound of Danny DeKeyser's long drive a mere 39 seconds in, and Miller made it 2-0 by converting Luke Glendening's behind-the-net give from close range.
New York quickly knotted the score, however. After Nelson beat Mrazek glove- side on a power-play with 4:01 elapsed, a giveaway from Detroit's Kyle Quincey set up Strome's connection off a pretty drop pass from Tavares just 1:37 later.
"It wasn't the way we wanted to start, but credit to our team for digging deep and staying with it," Tavares said.
Okposo briefly put the Islanders ahead with a redirection of Tavares' blast on a 5-on-4, but Kronwall tied it at 3-3 just 52 seconds afterward by jumping into the offensive zone and ripping a shot past Halak's glove.
"That first period had a lot of funny bounces," Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg remarked. "It was sloppy for both sides."
Jimmy Howard stopped 15-of-16 shots in relief of Mrazek ... Datsyuk's goal ended a string of 27 straight successful penalty kills for New York, which hadn't allowed a power-play score since Feb. 28 against Carolina ... Tavares came in having posted just two points over his previous eight games ... The Islanders improved to 8-1-0 this season in games in which both teams were playing the second end of a back-to-back set ... Isles defenseman Nick Leddy finished with two assists ... Detroit's Marek Zidlicky assisted on Datsyuk's goal for his 399th career point, tying Petr Svoboda for third-most among Czech-born defensemen.