At this point in the season, the islanders are playing with nothing to lose. They’ve been looking like this lately.
The team won its second straight game Thursday night, beating the Red Wings 5-2. The Islanders (28-25-9) are now 7-1-1 in their last nine games — the kind of run they’ve been waiting for all year, but at this point it won’t make much difference rank meaningfully.
Despite bad news earlier in the day, with news of injuries to Cal Clutterbuck and Scott Mayfield, the Isles came out with energy and blitzed the Red Wings early, taking a quick lead and never looking back on a win that came as easily as it could .
The Islanders got on the board just nine seconds into play after Anders Lee took the puck from Filip Hronek and slotted Anthony Beauvillier into the slot. It was the second fastest goal to start a game in Islanders history, behind only Bryan Trottier, who scored five seconds into a game against the Bruins on March 22, 1984.
Later in the half, Oliver Wahlstrom made the second, also scoring from the slot after Mathew Barzal charged across the ice on a rush, making room for Wahlstrom down the middle and supplying the winger at 16:07.
Although the rim of the shot told a different story, the islanders were in control the whole time. Brock Nelson made it 3-0 with a power play goal at 11:39 of the second, and the result never felt in doubt. Really, it didn’t before either.
The islanders pushed the game, and when they weren’t, Ilya Sorokin was there to clean up their mess with 24 saves. Thomas Greiss, returning to Long Island with the Red Wings, stopped 13 of 16 shots in the other net and was drawn after the second third.
Josh Bailey put the nail in the coffin with his goal to make it 4-0 at 1:19 of the third. The Red Wings snagged Sorokin’s shutout bid with two goals late in the final period, with Nelson scoring his second of the game at 14:07 in the third.
Despite coming out of the playoff race well, the Islanders said the right things about how they plan to end the season — winning as many games as possible and getting back to their identity.
More importantly, they’ve backed the words with their on-ice play and have been controlling games lately in a way they just haven’t for much of the season, even when they’re healthy.
It’s just a silver lining and not one that can make up for most of the season.
But the islanders have no choice but to be content with that for the time being.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/24/islanders-late-season-surge-continues-with-win-over-red-wings/ The Islanders’ late season rebound continues with a win over Red Wings