UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It was a familiar scene for the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday, looking like they would lose for the eighth time in nine games and eighth straight time at home.
But the Islanders responded after a slow start and went on to defeat the Red Wings 5-4.
With the win, the Islanders (44-27-5) moved two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.
Detroit scored twice on its first two shots in the opening 1:46. Tomas Tatar scored 39 seconds in, swatting home a rebound of a shot by defenseman Danny DeKeyser. His shot from the right side hit Halak in the chest and bounced to Tatar at the right side of the net.
With the loss, Detroit remained seven points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Red Wings have one game in hand.
A wild first period saw six goals. The Islanders scored the next three in a span of 5:01.
Brock Nelson scored his 19th at 4:01 with the Islanders on a power play. He took a cross-ice pass from Lubomir Visnosvky and his slap shot eluded Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek.
The Islanders tied it 2-2 on a pretty passing set up by John Tavares. He faked a shot and passed back to Ryan Strome, whose shot from the slot his Mrazek, but he scored on the rebound to the left of the net at 5:38 for his 16th.
New York took a 3-2 lead when Tavares' shot hit Kyle Okposo's skate in the crease and went in at 9:02. The goal was reviewed and upheld because Okposo did not kick the puck in. It was his 16th goal of the season.
Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall tied it 3-3 at 9:54 when he skated in from the blue line after the Islanders failed to clear the puck from their zone. His wrist shot went past Halak for his ninth goal.
The Islanders had scored 12 goals in their past eight games, and had scored three goals once in that stretch.
Frans Nielsen skated into the Red Wings zone and took a wrist shot from near the side of the net, which Mrazek was unable to stop. Mrazek was pulled in favor of Jimmy Howard after allowing four goals on 11 shots.
Howard made 15 saves.
Cal Clutterbuck added a shorthanded breakaway goal at 3:57 of the second period. Tatar was unable to hold the puck in the offensive zone and Clutterbuck picked it up and skated in on Howard and deked before sliding the puck under his left pad. It was his seventh goal of the season and first in 14 games. It was the Islanders' first shorthanded goal since Jan. 19.
New York had three power-play goals after going 3-for-27 in its previous nine games.
Halak, who made 21 saves, got his 36th win of the season.
Pavel Datsyuk scored his 24th, on the power play, when Nielsen was unable to clear the puck from in front of Halak at 10:20 of the second period to make it 5-4.
Tavares had three assists.
Follow David Satriano on Twitter: @davidsatriano