Barzal leads Islanders to 4-3 shootout win over Red Wings at the old barn

Mathew Barzal celebrates a goal during an Islanders 4-3 shootout win over the Red Wings at the old barn. AP Photo via Getty Images

Some home cooking was in order. Mathew Barzal had one of his best games of the season. The second-year center led the Islanders to a much needed 4-3 win over the Red Wings in the shootout at the old barn. He had a power play goal, primary assist and scored the shootout winner to give the Islanders their first home victory in the last three games.

Playing before a packed house of 13,917 at NYCB Live/Nassau Coliseum, the Isles deserved the win. It should’ve come sooner. They dominated the Red Wings throughout, outshooting them 46-15 in regulation. That included a overwhelming 21-4 margin in the third period.

It took a struggling power play six chances to finally cash in. Barzal tied the game at two with a power play goal that came with 8:57 remaining. They were finally able to take advantage of some undisciplined play from Detroit. On their third consecutive man-advantage of the third, Barzal delivered the big goal when he dug out a rebound and steered it into a open side for just his fourth of the season. Jordan Eberle did a good job in front distracting Detroit backup goalie Jonathan Bernier. The Red Wings challenged for goaltender interference, but it was upheld. Anders Lee and Nick Leddy picked up assists.

Continuing to apply pressure, the Isles got another key goal from the fourth line. On a sustained forecheck, Casey Cizikas scored his eighth from Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin to put them ahead 3-2 with 6:04 left. Martin got the puck in front and Clutterbuck pushed out a rebound right to Cizikas, who deposited it for the one-goal lead.

It looked like that would be enough to win. But after the Red Wings pulled Bernier for an extra attacker, former Islander Thomas Vanek tied the contest with 63 seconds to go. On a play started by Niklas Kronwall, Andreas Athanasiou redirected a centering pass for a open Vanek, who tapped the puck in. Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield vacated the front and bit. That allowed Vanek to get his fourth goal, giving him three points (goal, two assists) in the game.

Thomas Greiss barely had to anything in the first 60 minutes. However, he trailed 2-1 thanks to a Gustav Nyquist power play goal and a Trevor Daley bank shot that squeaked over the goal line, which video review helped overturn. In between, Barzal set up Anthony Beauvillier for his 10th off a great rush. He used the defenseman by passing underneath his stick for a Beauvillier tally that had tied it. But Daley’s goal with 14 seconds left in the first gave Detroit a lead they held until Barzal’s PPG.

In overtime, it was Greiss who came up with some big saves. The Red Wings possessed the puck for most of the three-on-three. They outshot the Isles 6-2. But Greiss was strong despite not being too busy. He deserves credit. He also turned aside all three Detroit shooters in the skill competition.

That included denying ex-teammate Frans Nielsen in the bottom of the first. He was bidding for his league best 50th goal in the shootout. But Greiss wisely cheated to a piece of Nielsen’s patented backhand deke.

Out came Barzal for Round Two. Using speed, he came in fast and then made a great deke on Bernier before tucking a forehand home for a crowd pleasing goal. Following misses from Vanek and Josh Bailey, Greiss delivered one final save when he successfully poke checked Nyquist to clinch the victory.

It was the Islanders’ third home game at the Coliseum. They dropped a 2-1 decision in a shootout Monday against the Penguins. This time, they were on the right side in improving to 2-0-1 at the old barn.

Josh Ho-Sang made his season debut. The former first round pick received 12:24 including 3:57 on the power play with two shots. The Islanders (15-12-4) remain two points behind the Penguins (4-3 winners over Kings in overtime) for third place in the Metro Division. They are at the Avalanche on Monday with stops in Arizona and Vegas this week.


3rd 🌟 Thomas Vanek, DET (tying goal, two assists, +2 in 10:19)

2nd 🌟 Jonathan Bernier, DET (45 saves including 34/36 in 2nd and 3rd)

1st 🌟 Mathew Barzal, NYI (4th of season, assist, shootout winner, 7 shots, +1 in 23:53 including 6:24 PP)

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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