November 17, 2013

Isles lose Nabokov but pull out shootout win over Wings

By Christian Arnold

Casey Cizikas, who scored his second goal of the season in the second period, celebrates the Isles' 5-4 shootout win with Kevin Poulin. (Getty Images)

UNIONDALE, N.Y— It may have taken a shootout and a little help from Kevin Poulin, 
but the Islanders came away with a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings 
Saturday night. 

It was a whacky contest that saw the Isles lose their starting goaltender, Evgeni 
Nabokov, less than five minutes into the game, the lead change four different times 
and the Isles play one of the best third periods they’ve played all season. And to cap 
it all off, Poulin – playing in just his second career shootout – stonewalled all three 
Detroit shooters, which included Paval Datsyuk. 

“I was pretty excited actually going against Datsyuk and Zetterberg,” Poulin said, 
describing how he was feeling headed into the shootout. “ Those are really good 
guys in shootouts and I was really excited.”

Poulin came into the game when Nabokov suffered a groin injury after the Red 
Wings tied the game at one, nine seconds after John Tavares had give the Islanders 
the 1-0 lead. The young goaltender kept the Wings at bay until the 17:18 mark in 
the first period when Pavel Datsyuk was able to tip a shot in during a Detroit power 

The Islanders tied the game at two late in the second period, which began a flurry of 
goals in the final three minutes.

Casey Cizikas recorded his second goal of the season, thanks to a loose puck left 
out in front by Red Wings starter Jonas Gustavsson. But it took the Wings just 33 
seconds to take back the lead. A shot from the top of the slot by Johan Franzen put 
Detroit ahead 3-2.

However, a power-play goal with 50 seconds remaining in the second period evened 
the score yet again. 

The Islanders took their first lead since the opening minutes of the first period 
nearly five minutes into the third. But despite playing one of their best third periods 
of the season and outshooting their opponent 15-4 in the final frame, the Red Wings 
tied the game with 42.5 seconds left to play on Datsyuk's second tally of the night.

The overtime period resulted in no one scoring. In the shootout, all it took was a
goal from Frans Nielsen and Kevin Poulin handled the rest. 

“I thought [Poulin] played excellent,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said 
after the win. “He came in there – it’s tough to come off the bench – and he 
made some big saves for us. There is not question. I felt he was on top of his game.” 

After the game, Cal Clutterbuck called Poulin’s effort “pretty impressive.”

“He’s been good for us and it’s a nice luxury to have to be able to throw him in 
there,” Clutterbuck added. “Obviously it’s unfortunate event there having Nabby get 
hurt, but it’s a pretty good luxury to have a guy like Pouls to put in there and shut 
the door.”

Capuano said that Nabokov will be reevaluated on Monday, but that he does suspect 
the veteran goaltender will miss a substantial amount of time. “I don’t know for sure, but I would say a couple weeks,” he said.

Twitter: @CA_NYHockey