UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Islanders vowed to play with purpose following a rough road loss to the crosstown Rangers. They did exactly that against the lowly Detroit Red Wings.
Brock Nelson scored twice and six other Islanders connected as New York routed the hapless Red Wings 8-2.
New York scored three times in the first eight minutes, a rousing response after a 6-2 loss to the Rangers a night earlier.
“We came out and after the first couple of minutes, I knew we would be in good shape. We jumped on them early,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.
The league-worst Red Wings were out of it early, and Thomas Greiss made 34 saves to back the Islanders. New York improved to 5-1-1 in the second half of back-to-back games.
“After any loss, the next game is really important and it’s important you get back on track,’’ said Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock, who had two assists. “And it helps having that back-to-back so you don’t have too long to think about it.”
Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey and Nelson chased Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with their three quick goals early. Calvin Pickard relieved and stopped 14 of 19 shots.
Filip Hronek scored for Detroit 11:45 into the first, but Anders Lee put the Islanders ahead 4-1 later in the period. Eberle assisted on Lee’s goal for his 500th career point.
Nelson scored his 18th of the season early in the second period on a breakaway, and Noah Dobson followed with his first career goal 41 seconds later. The 20-year-old Dobson was a first-round pick in 2018 and playing his 18th game.
“It’s definitely a cool feeling that I will always remember,’’ Dobson said.
Anthony Beauvillier and Leo Komarov scored in the third to round out New York’s eight-spot.
Detroit’s Givani Smith scored his first career goal to make it 8-2.
The Islanders had scored two or fewer goals in five of their last six games before this season-best outburst. They were 4-5-2 in their previous 11 games to fall from second to third in the Metropolitan Division behind the surging Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Red Wings are 3-10-0 in their last 13 games and 5-20-0 in their last 25. They are last in the league with 27 points.
“We have to be way better than that,’’ Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We left Jimmy hanging and in the end it didn’t work. We weren’t good enough in front of him to start the game.”
The Islanders have a rematch with the Rangers on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum, the first time in nearly five years the rivals will meet on Long Island. The Islanders moved to Brooklyn following the 2014-15 season but are now splitting time between Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum while a new arena is being constructed on the grounds of Belmont Park. Their new home is slated to be ready for the 2021-22 season.
Trotz applauded his team’s effort and quickly turned the page to the looming New York-New York rematch.
“We’ve to show what we are,’’ he said. “We have another level in our game we should hopefully bring it on Thursday.”
NOTES: The Islanders scratched F Ross Johnston plus D Sebastian Aho while injured F Casey Cizikas (lower body) missed his second straight game. ... The Red Wings scratched Ds Trevor Daley and Jonathan Ericsson plus F Brendan Perlini. ... The teams meet again Feb. 21 at Nassau Coliseum. ... The Red Wings fell to 0-11-0 against Metropolitan Division opponents. ... The Islanders are 24-1-2 when scoring at least three goals (including overtime winners) this season.
Islanders: Host New York Rangers at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday night.
Red Wings: Host Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.