As great of a defenseman and a captain that he has been for the New York Rangers, Ryan McDonagh has never exactly been classified as a goal scorer. Likewise, the Rangers were never known for their victories at Joe Louis Arena.
Naturally, both happened on Sunday night.
McDonagh had two goals, and the Rangers won their final visit to The Joe in a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
In their first game knowing they’ll miss Henrik Lundqvist for at least the next two weeks, the Rangers (44-23-2) received strong play from both sides of the puck. Late in the first period, while Steven Kampfer served two minutes for tripping, Kevin Hayes escorted the puck out of the Rangers’ zone putting a shot on net. McDonagh, who had joined the shorthanded rush, tapped the shot into the net with 27 seconds remaining to put the Rangers up 1-0.
In the second, Detroit managed to knot the up the score, this time fulfilling a power play as Frans Nielsen scored to knot things up. The Red Wings (26-30-11) had more opportunities to take the lead, but the Rangers took control of the final minutes with McDonagh taking advantage of a wild scramble in front of the net, putting in his second goal of the game, marking his first multi-goal game since February 16, 2015. 37 seconds later, Hayes himself got in on the scoring action, his 17th of the year making it 3-1 before the middle frame let out.
In the third, the Rangers took two early penalties, as Brendan Smith, in his return to Detroit, began the period with a delay of game penalty. 10 seconds after that penalty was killed off, Derek Stepan was called for high-sticking, but the shorthanded unit once again killed off the two minutes. Stepan would later make up for the gaffe, scoring on a power play to end the longest goal drought of his career at 23 games, getting a goal for the first time since January 17.
With the win, the Rangers complete their visits at The Joe, which closes after this season. All time, the Rangers were 9-27-4-3 in the building. They finished their four game road trip with a 3-1-0 mark, and will now return home to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night (7:00, MSG).