Red Wings light up Islanders, 5-0

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Jimmy Howard exuded calm, his teammates, confidence. After a month that saw the Detroit Red Wings sag, they’ve got a nice little swagger back.

A 5-0 final Friday afternoon against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum marked the Wings’ third straight victory, all of them coming without Pavel Datsyuk, who is recovering from a concussion. Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson each scored twice, and Gustav Nyquist also had a goal as the Wings built on their commanding 6-1 victory two days earlier against Boston.

In what was his first start in three games after being ordered to take a “little breather” following a very average month, Howard responded with a dozen strong saves in the first period, 29 total, for his second shutout of the season.

It helped once the Wings got a lead, seven minutes in, with Alfredsson skating the puck into New York’s zone and leaving a pass for Helm.

Helm picked up the puck, cut to the net, deked and picked up his sixth goal of the season. That deflated the Islanders’ good start and inflated energy into the Wings, who had better jump the rest of the first period.

That continued into the second period, through a power play, and was exemplified during one particular shift by Henrik Zetterberg’s line that saw one good scoring chance after another denied by Kevin Poulin. It got a little hectic for Howard past the midway point, but he had good sight lines on shots and didn’t let anything get by him.

The Wings’ comfort grew when Helm scored shorthanded with about three minutes to go, picking up a puck chipped loose by Daniel Cleary. Helm beat Andrew MacDonald to the puck just Poulin closed in to challenge, resulting in a collision that left Poulin on his knees and Helm somersaulting through the air, stick loose, but the puck sliding into the open net for a 2-0 lead.

Twelve seconds into the third period, the Wings were in even better shape. Brendan Smith picked up his second assist of the game when he sent the puck up the middle to Alfredsson, who’s sniffed a breakaway chance and was ready for the rush. A few strides and a high shot later, Alfredsson had his fifth goal of the season, in his 1,200th career game.

Nyquist finished a sweet setup from Johan Franzen on an odd-man rush and Alfredsson collected another goal as the Wings feasted through another productive night.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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