For the third straight game the Rangers needed more than 60 minutes to decide their fate. But unlike the previous two shootout defeats, the Rangers grabbed a 4-3 overtime victory Wednesday night over the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on a Derick Brassard power play goal.
The win lifted New York to 6-4-2 on the season, with the Rangers now having earned at least one point in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2). Henrik Lundqvist backstopped the victory, finishing with xx saves.
Brassard won the game at 1:50 of overtime when he tapped in a loose puck near the goal line after Detroit goalie Jonas Gustavsson had stopped a Dan Girardi drive from left wing. It was Brassard's fift hgoal of the season, and the Rangers second on the power play Wednesday night--this one with Pavel Datsyuk sitting in the box.
Lee Stempniak snapped a 2-2 tie with 7:50 remaining in regulation, off a right wing snap shot on a soft saucer pass from Dominic Moore. The 2-on-2 rush was helped by a crisp outlet pass off the stick of Chris Kreider, who earned the secondary assist on Stempniak's third goal of the season.
However the Rangers could not survive a wild finish which saw Tomas Tatar score the game-tying goal with 7.7 seconds to play and Marc Staal sitting in the penalty box after a holding penalty was called against him 29 seconds earlier.
The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a first period power play goal by Rick Nash and a second period breakaway tally by Martin St. Louis, but then allowed Detroit to score twice in a span of 13 seconds midway through the middle period to tie the score. The two teams thus skated into the second intermission all even, 2-2, with New York holding a 20-16 shots advantage.
Nash--in the midst of yet another forceful command performance--opened the scoring at 6:36 of the first period when Derick Brassard's power play slap shot deflected off Nash's backside and past Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson for his team-high tenth goal of the season. Nash was battling for position in front of Gustavsson as Brassard played give and go with Matt Hunwick, and had his back to the play when the puck grazed him and redirected into the net. The goal was only New York's fourth on the power play this season.
Three minutes later--with the Rangers again on the power play--Anthony Duclair rang a shot off the post, and by the ten-minute mark of the first period the Blueshirts were outshooting the visitors 9-0. Detroit, which had played the night before in Ottawa, found its legs in the second half of period number one, and recorded eight of their last nine shots on goal in the period. The Red Wings very nearly tied the score at 18:35, but Niklas Kronwall's blast from the left point caught iron behind Lundqvist.
Early in the second period Lundqvist made his biggest save of the game, making a left arm stop on Gustav Nyquist's penalty shot at 5:51. It was Lundqvist's first penalty shot save since his memorable final-minute penalty shot stop on Philadelphia's Daniel Briere outdoors at the 2012 Winter Classic. Since then he had allowed four straight goals in penalty shot situations--all of which took place last season.
The penalty shot Wednesday night was awarded after Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein--back in the lineup after sitting out Monday's shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues with a foot contusion--fell on a loose puck in Lundqvist's crease during a wild scramble.
Forty-eight seconds after Lundqvist's clutch save on Nyquist, Hunwick sprung St. Louis on a breakaway with a gorgeous long no-look pass. St. Louis proceeded to beat Gustavsson through the five hole at 6:39, his fourth goal of the season and third in the past two games, lifting New York into a 2-0 lead.
Detroit, though, rallied back. Jakub Kindl drove a right wing shot past Lundqvist at 12:02 for a power play goal with rookie defenseman Conor Allen sitting in the penalty box; and then 13 seconds later Daniel Cleary snuck a left-wing shot off Lundqvist and into the net to tie the score--though the referees did not signal for a goal and played continued for another minute, at which time video review showed that a goal had been scored.
Gustavsson made sure that the tie score would hold up when he made a simply sensational diving glove save to rob Nash after a prolonged shift by the Rangers in the offensive zone with 1:19 remaining in the second period.