The New York Islanders look to leave a disastrous four-game road trip in their rear-view mirror on Friday when they host the league-worst Detroit Red Wings at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders were shut out twice to begin their recent trek and mustered just one goal in each of the other two contests on their season-high four-game skid.
"We've got our backs against the wall a little bit here and it's been a tough stretch and a brutal road trip," New York captain Anders Lee said following Wednesday's 3-1 setback to Colorado. "Moving forward we just have to keep our heads and stick together and right the ship when we get back home in front of our fans, get some energy from them and figure this out." Brock Nelson, who snapped an eight-game scoring drought with his team-leading 22nd goal late in the third period, tallied twice in the Islanders' 8-2 romp over Detroit on Jan. 14. That loss was part of a dismal 2-13-1 stretch for the Red Wings, who recorded one of their few bright spots of the season on Tuesday by completing a four-game sweep of Montreal. "I've had a tough year, but fortunately, the puck is starting to go in," said Andreas Athanasiou, who scored twice in the third period of Detroit's 4-3 win to boost his goal total to five in his last six games.
TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: FS Detroit, MSG-Plus
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (15-43-4): While Detroit is looking toward the future, coach Jeff Blashill isn't interested in expediting that process in regard to 2019 first-round defenseman Moritz Seider. "With Moritz, it will be totally dictated on what we think is best for his development and there's no number of games that have been discussed (if he's called up), that it's got to be this or got to be that," Blashill said Thursday. "It's simply a matter of what's best for his development and that's an ongoing process to evaluate and there's a lot that goes into it that we'll keep looking at and make the decision." Alex Biega is nursing a fractured cheekbone for Detroit, which recalled fellow blue-liner Brian Lashoff from the Griffins on Thursday.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (33-20-6): The injury bug is playing a significant role for New York, which is dealing with the losses of fourth-liners Cal Clutterbuck (wrist) and Casey Cizikas (leg) while Derick Brassard appears to be joining that list after sustaining an upper-body injury on Wednesday. "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. "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." Mathew Barzal, who leads the team in assists (31) and points (49), set up three goals in the season series versus Detroit.
1. New York sports a 2-5-1 record in its last eight games at Nassau Veteran Memorial Coliseum.
2. Detroit LW Tyler Bertuzzi has scored just one of his team-leading 18 goals in his last 11 contests.
3. Former Islanders F John Tonelli, who played on all four of the franchise's Stanley Cup-winning teams, will see his No. 27 raised to the rafters prior to the game.