The New York Rangers were defeated 3-2 tonight by the Detroit Red Wings after they blew a two goal lead, and gave up three unanswered goals throughout the second and third periods. Cam Talbot was forced to stand on his head in the early going, which allowed the Rangers to shake off some of the rust they had from being off for almost a week. After killing off an early penalty assessed to Carl Hagelin, the Rangers finally put their foot on the gas, and eventually came away with the first goal of the game.
Just 9:31 into regulation, the Rangers struck first as Kevin Klein banged in his own rebound at the top of the crease, and gave the Rangers their first lead of the night. Kevin Hayes actually deserves a ton of credit for setting up this goal, as he corralled the puck behind the net, and made a sweet no look pass right on the tape of Klein in front of the net. Jimmy Howard really had no chance as soon as the puck bounced out in front, and Klein was able to slam it home through a ton of traffic in the crease.
Then, a little over five minutes later, Rick Nash converted for his 17th goal of the season, and gave the Rangers a commanding 2-0 lead. Nash was able to catch Detroit's defense napping, and eventually caught a sick saucer pass from Derick Brassard to spring him in on a breakaway. With plenty of time to work with, Nash held the puck out on his forehand, and ripped a quick wrist shot over the pad of Howard as he came near the crease. Nash has been doing all the right things this season, and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
The Rangers were able to close out the first period unscathed, and came away with a 2-0 lead after a solid 20 minutes of hockey. However, following their two goal outburst, the Rangers wound up giving up three consecutive goals in the final 40 minutes, which completed the comeback for the Red Wings. At 14:14 of the second period, the Red Wings finally broke through with their first goal, as Riley Sheahan converted a on backhand shot in the high slot.
The Rangers actually had their defensive zone covered fairly well on the play, but Chris Kreider wound up losing his man in front which allowed Sheahan to get a wide open shot off. Following the goal, things continued to work against the Rangers, and 61 seconds later, the Red Wings knotted up the game at 2-2. Luke Glendening was able to pounce on a loose puck behind Cam Talbot, and slammed home the rebound.
After coughing up the lead in the second period, the Rangers continued on their downward slide, and eventually gave up the go-ahead goal at the 7:40 mark of the third period. Darren Helm was able to take advantage of a misplay by Derick Brassard, and broke in on a partial breakaway. With defenders closing in on, Helm released a quick wrist shot which slipped under the arm of Cam Talbot, and gave the Red Wings their first lead of the evening.
While things were certainly looking down for the Rangers, later on in the third period, they had a perfect opportunity to break through. The Rangers were handed two separate 5-on-3's at the midway point of the third period, but generated absolutely nothing. The power play didn't have much movement, and the Rangers were passing up way too many shooting opportunities in close.
With the Rangers unable to do much with their man-advantage, the Red Wings were able to kill off the remaining penalties, and went on to win the game 3-2. With the Pittsburgh Penguins in town on Monday night, the Rangers will need to do a better job of holding onto leads if they plan on turning this ship around.