The Red Wings won their third straight game today—all without the injured Pavel Datsyuk—as they whitewashed the NY Islanders, 5-0, on Long Island.
Daniel Alfredsson and Darren Helm each scored twice, and Gustav Nyquist added a goal. Jimmy Howard made 29 saves.
Never has a player earned the No. 1 star quite like Helm did. His second goal was a shortie, and he was around the puck all game long.
The shorthanded goal was one of the most magnificent you’ll ever see.
Using his blazing speed, Helm outraced Radek Martinek to the puck at the Isles’ blue line, putting Helm on a collision course with NY goalie Kevin Poulin between the circles. Helm flipped into a partial somersault over Poulin’s right pad, tipping the puck in the process. The puck and Helm’s stick both ended up in the net.
It could have been a nightmare play, too. The way Helm’s legs hit Poulin’s pad was actually quite scary. And with Helm’s injury luck, you kind of held your breath. But he was fine, and the shortie gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead at 16:49 of the second period.
Alfredsson’s first goal was a breakaway from the blue line, courtesy a nifty breakout pass from Brendan Smith that was threaded through sticks and skates from inside the Red Wings zone. Alfie buried a snap shot over Poulin’s left shoulder for a 3-0 lead 12 seconds into the third period.
Howard had to make a point blank stop with under a minute to play to salvage his shutout.
The line of Helm, Alfredsson and Johan Franzen was brilliant—combining for four goals and two assists.
The Red Wings (13-7-7) have their first three-game winning streak in a month.
BOTTOM LINE: Perhaps the Red Wings’ most complete game of the year. Hardly anything to complain about.
THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: Coach Mike Babcock had a “doghouse” line of Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Mikael Samuelsson playing together. Cleary got an assist, on the Helm shortie. This was Red Wing hockey we all know and love: puck possession, hard on the puck in the attacking zone and strong goaltending when necessary—plus secondary scoring. Let’s see if this is the start of something good.