Red Wings drop thriller to Rangers in overtime
New York — They’ve done this before, whenever goaltenders Jimmy Howard and Henrik Lundqvist face each other at Madison Square Garden.
The veterans have hooked up for some epic, entertaining battles, leaving fans thoroughly entertained and opposing shooters utterly frustrated.
They did it again Friday, and this time it was Lundqvist who got the better of it, with the Rangers winning 2-1 in overtime.
Mats Zuccarello was alone in front, and beat Howard at 37 seconds of the extra session, ending a terrific hockey game.
Lundqvist stopped 40 shots, and Howard 29.
BOX SCORE: Rangers 2, Red Wings 1, overtime
Howard, an upstate New York native who has said he enjoys playing at Madison Square Garden, entered the game with a 5-3-2 career record against the Rangers, with gaudy statistics (1.69 goals-against average. .951 save percentage). He responded superbly after being pulled Wednesday in the loss to Edmonton.
Tomas Tatar broke a scoreless tie with his seventh goal, a power-play goal, at 4:05 in the third period, only to see the Rangers tie it on Chris Kreider’s goal at 10:17.
With two seconds left on the power play, Tatar one-timed a shot from near the circle that Lundqvist never got a good look at as Justin Abdelkader screened him.
Tatar’s goal gave the Red Wings at least one power-play goal in three consecutive games, and eight of the last 10 — a far cry from last season’s severe problems on the unit.
Henrik Zetterberg earned an assist on the goal, giving him 918 career points and tying Pavel Datsyuk for sixth on the all-time Red Wings’ list.
But the Rangers responded after a faceoff win, with Kreider jumping on a loose puck and backhanding a shot past Howard, his eighth goal, tying the score.
The Red Wings lost defenseman Trevor Daley with 7:55 left in the first period to an upper-body injury, and he did not return.
Daley awkwardly collided with a Rangers player near the blue line, bracing himself to prevent a bigger collision, and awkwardly fell to his knees.
Daley attempted to get up, then simply threw down his gloves and lay on the ice in discomfort.
Eventually, Daley did get up and skated off the ice with trainer Piet Van Zant but didn’t play the rest of the night.
Daley’s availability for Saturday’s game at Little Caesars Arena against New Jersey (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit/97.1) was not known.
The first two periods were a bit of a flip flop, with the Red Wings dominating the opening 20 minutes and the Rangers controlling the second period with Howard absolutely stonewalling them.
Frustration had to be boiling for New York, as Howard denied several outstanding opportunities.
It’s difficult to highlight the best save in the middle 20 minutes, but Howard’s pad save on Rick Nash at the post, just as a Rangers power play expired, was one that left many at Madison Square Arena gasping.
But that wasn’t the only good save Howard had in the period.
Howard stopped Mika Zibanejad off a scramble with just under four minutes gone in the second period, then stopped Pavel Buchnevich in the slot for the second time in the game.
Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk appeared to have a prime opportunity with a one-timer near the dot, but Howard deftly moved over to smother the shot.
Howard made another save on a shot from the slot by J.T. Miller that left Miller looking into the arena roof.
But Lundqvist was just as good in the opening 20 minutes, as the Red Wings did everything but score in the first period.
Lundqvuist showed he was sharp early by denying Dylan Larkin on a partial breakaway, just after Howard turned aside Zibanejad from in close early in the first period.
After Gustav Nyquist came in a rush and Lundqvist snared a glove save, Nyquist skated close by and appeared to say something to Lundqvist, who answered emphatically.