In a game that had little action at times ended with a thriller in overtime that gave the Rangers the win. Kevin Klein got the game winner goal in OT to beat the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 at Madison Square Garden Sunday night. In a battle of goaltenders it was Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist getting the edge with a 22 save shutout.
Dylan Larkin returned to the lineup after dealing with an illness that cost Detroit a victory. Although they had help from rookie Andreas Anthanasiou, the Red Wings lost in the end with a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. With the Stadium Series game coming closer for them, getting into a winning groove had to come before the end of the road trip.
They went into the Big Apple hoping that they could take down a struggling Rangers squad who wouldn’t have Ryan McDonagh in the lineup due to an injury to his jaw. It wasn’t likely to make a difference as they have gone 7-2-1 in their last ten and won the last four games at home when the Red Wings visited.
It was clearly in the minds of New York as they blasted shots at Jimmy Howard in net notching eight shots through 12 minutes of play. The Syracuse native performed well under the pressure and stopped every one of their attempts. Things could have been better on Detroit’s offense as they struggled to get consistent. They hadn’t taken a shot in quite some time until in the seventh minute where they recorded a fourth shot against Lundqvist.
They increased their shots on goal in the New York end but neither he nor Howard gave an inch against their opponents. By the time the last few minutes fell off the clock the Rangers had outshot Detroit 12-10 with both failing to convert on their only power plays of the game.
The second got underway with the Red Wings pushing their offense into high gear shooting five shots in the opening three minutes. There was plenty of movement with the puck but very little scoring chances between the teams. New York had a chance to get ahead on the scoreboard with Kyle Quincey getting a tripping call against him. The Rangers failed to make anything happen with Howard having a wonderful game in net relentless to allow a goal and have a good game. Lundqvist was the same as he stopped Detroit’s second power play of the game.
No further action took place in the last minutes of the period with the teams shooting less than they did in the first. New York still outshot the Red Wings in the period but with not one team scoring a goal, the third period would become an intense factor to see who would skate off victorious.
The Red Wings had the first chance in the game looking to notch a goal three minutes into the period with a penalty. They had yet to record a shot on any of their power plays and after the Rangers were successful on the penalty kill, they still didn’t. It cost them just 1:23 later as Kevin Hayes scored a goal against a scrambling Detroit defense. Howard took a kick to the head from Oscar Lindberg during the play that took him out for a few seconds.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill challenged the goal due to Lindberg kick on Howard. Officials agreed with him negating the goal keeping the game scoreless. The fight for control ensued between the Rangers and the Red Wings as time was coming off the clock and the opportunities became less. Detroit got their fourth power play of the game but it came and went with the Rangers PK allowing them one shot so far in the game while up a man. For the Rangers they gained a penalty but it was a one on one chance for Jesper Fast as he got tripped up on a breakaway. He was inevitably denied by Howard who made a big save gaining some serious confidence on the stop.
It wouldn’t be the last time the two would meet as he went on a two on none rush only to watch Howard save the puck on a big jump in the last four minutes of play. The Red Wings took a time out with 1:52 left in the game hoping that a play on offense could stun the Rangers and give them a win. They barely got the puck out of their zone as the Rangers pressured hard in the Detroit zone but came up short as well. It led to overtime where a hard fought game sent things to 3 on 3.
The opening pair of minutes was the most intense of the entire game as attacks were assured of happening. Detroit came at Lundqvist where a shot from Gustav Nyquist nearly got through him but he somehow stopped it laying down. As soon as the puck was cleared, Chris Kreider gained possession stretching the pass to Hayes who went in on Howard with Kevin Klein scoring the game winner at 1:59. His wrist shot flew top high into the net beating the glove of Howard in a tight race that ended well for New York.
Although the loss was hard for Howard to swallow, he had so much to be pleased, as his game was the best he has had all season long. He made 29 of 30 saves on the night for a season high .967 save percentage that included his stop on Fast that he won’t soon forget. This would be one loss the Red Wings would accept as they went back home for a short stay when they’ll host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.