The win kept Detroit five points back of first-place St. Louis in the Central Division. The Red Wings have beaten the Islanders twice this week for their only wins in their last five games.
"All of us have a different makeup," McCarty said. "I'm one of the physical guys and one of the emotional guys. Everybody has a role, and when everybody does what they do best we're hard to beat."
McCarty scored twice in a three-goal second period for Detroit. It was his first two-goal game since Feb. 3, 1999.
After both teams wasted 5-on-3 chances, McCarty scored off a great play from Brendan Shanahan to give Detroit a 3-1 lead. Shanahan pulled up and slipped on a break, but, from his knees, he made a pass that McCarty shot past Luongo's glove at 12:33.
"I was more or less cheerleading, then (Shanahan) pulled up," McCarty said.
Ollie Jokinen answered 1:43 later when he wrested the puck away from two defensemen in front of the net and fired it past Chris Osgood.
McCarty scored again with a shot through traffic after another gret pass from Igor Larionov at 17:29, restoring Detroit's two-goal lead.
"The second one, (Larionov's) the best passer in the game and he set it up perfectly," McCarty said.
Murphy, who had two assists, played his 1,540th game to tie Johnny Bucyk for third on the NHL list. Red Wings Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio rank ahead with 1,767 and 1,549, respectively.
Murphy was not available after the game.
Eric Cairns got his first career goal for the Islanders.
"Those are things that are definite momentum swingers," Islanders coach Butch Goring said. "If we score on those, who knows? When you play a team like Detroit you know they're going to get opportunities, so you have to make the most of yours."
Osgood, who gave up four third-period goals in a 5-2 loss Wednesday to Dallas, said "we really wanted to shut them down early, so that was important.
"After I made those saves I just wanted to move on."
Roberto Luongo had 39 saves in the Islanders' net.
"Detroit doesn't lose two in a row very often," said the Islanders' Dave Scatchard, who had two assists. "We caught them twice when they were edgy and a little bit hungry."
Lidstrom scored the only goal of the first period when he converted a pass from Kozlov to end a 2-on-1 break.
Murphy, who also assisted on Lidstrom's goal, passed to Kozlov breaking between defensemen to make it 2-0 just 39 seconds into the second period.
Cairns connected only 46 seconds later. Scatchard won a faceoff back to the top of the left circle to Cairns, who one-timed a shot through Osgood's legs for his first goal in 134 NHL games.
"It feels good, but it's still a loss," Cairns said. "And personally I played like crap, so I'm pretty disappointed right now. We beat ourselves with some really bad mental breakdowns."
Verbeek made it 5-2 with a power-play goal 5:39 into the third when he tipped in a shot from Steve Yzerman that got loose in the crease. It was Verbeek's 495th career goal and 999th career point.
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