The Detroit Red Wings were badly outplayed, badly outshot, yet somehow escaped with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
It’s a strategy that last season’s New York Rangers would probably sympathize with, had the current edition not been the victims in that victory, yet they were the ones dropping a heartbreaker at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers outshot Detroit 33-18, and nearly doubled the Red Wings in shot attempts, yet were done in by an unfortunate gaffe by Henrik Lundqvist. The goaltender had some flashy saves, totaling 16 on the night, but while trying to play the puck behind the Rangers’ net, Luke Glendening stole the puck away, passing it to an open Drew Miller, who put it into the even more open net to break what was a 1-1 tie.
The Rangers (2-2-0) struck early against Jimmy Howard, who was making his first start of the season, as Mika Zibanejad put in his second goal of the season 69 seconds into the game. However, Howard played spectacularly for the rest of the evening, making several showstopping saves, stifling numerous Rangers odd-man rushes throughout the night. The Rangers also had several other opportunities go by the wayside via shots that hit the post and shots that went wide.
A Rangers equalizer was also negated by a Jesper Fast high-stick.
Detroit (2-2-0) won their second game of the season, and second in a row. The first goal was a tip-in by Thomas Vanek on a power play, with helpers coming from longtime Rangers thorns in the side Frans Neilsen and Mike Green. The Vanek goal was scored while Adam Clendening was in the penalty box for boarding Darren Helm.
This was the only time the Rangers and Red Wings will meet at MSG this season. The teams are slated to meet again on January 22 at Joe Louis Arena.
Making his season debut for the Rangers debut was Kevin Klein, who was paired with Ryan McDonagh on the Rangers’ top defensive couple. Klein had one shot on net, as well a pair of blocked shots and a hit in 19:19 of ice time. McDonagh would assist on the goal, as would Chris Kreider, who is the only Ranger to tally at least one point in the team’s first four games. Both of the Ranger losses on the year have come by a single goal each.
The Rangers will have an opportunity to return to the win column on Saturday night, when they hit the road to take on the Washington Capitals (7:00 PM, MSG/NHL Network).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490