DETROIT – Joey MacDonald made himself right at home at Joe Louis Arena.
The former Detroit goalie made 42 saves for his first NHL shutout, and Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey scored goals in the lowly New York Islanders’ 2-0 victory over the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings on Friday night.
New York, which broke a three-game losing streak, has the worst record in the NHL, while Detroit is tied with San Jose for the league lead.
MacDonald, making his 62nd appearance in an NHL career that began with Detroit in 2006-07, made 14 saves in the second period and 19 in the third. He became the first Islanders goalie to shut out Detroit since Billy Smith on Jan. 22, 1981.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said MacDonald, making his first appearance since March 10. “No better thing than to get your first shutout in the building of the team you used to play for.”
Marian Hossa, Valtteri Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk all hit posts or crossbars for Detroit.
“We got lucky. We got some lucky bounces,” Islanders’ defenceman Bruno Gervais said. “They hit a lot of posts.”
New York scored both of its goals in the second period.
Nielsen opened the scoring with a short-handed goal 8:41 into the period. After taking a pass from Kyle Okposo, Nielsen cut in off the right wing, made a move and beat Chris Osgood for his seventh goal of the season.
Bailey scored his sixth goal with 4:51 left in the period, putting a rebound into an open net after beating Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg out of the corner.
Bailey praised MacDonald.
“That was one of the best games by a goalie I’ve ever seen,” he said. “He won the game for us.”
In addition to the posts and crossbars, MacDonald foiled Mikael Samuelsson when he reached back for a glove save at the goal line when Samuelsson appeared to have an open net from the bottom of the right circle during a Red Wing power play 6:37 into the second period.
“Sammy missed the empty net,” MacDonald said. “I just stuck my glove out and caught it.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said his team had its chances.
“Time and time again we had great opportunities, I thought our execution was really good, but I thought they were desperate,” Babcock said. “The goalie was good, they blocked shots, they competed really hard.”
Osgood finished with 28 saves.
“Early on we didn’t play as well as we had to against a team that played loose, played with confidence,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We didn’t get skating until later in the game, and we were down 2-0 at the time.”
Notes: Lidstrom and Zetterberg were both minus-2. … New York LW Sean Negrenheim missed his seventh game because of a strained groin. … The Red Wings have 49 victories, one away from becoming the third team in NHL history to win 50 games in four consecutive seasons. … Bailey played junior hockey for the Ontario Hockey League’s nearby Windsor Spitfires.