The New York Rangers did everything they could have tonight, except for putting the puck in the net more than once. As a result, they were defeated 2-1 by the Detroit Red Wings, and were shutdown all evening by Jimmy Howard in the opposing crease.
Much like last game, the Rangers had a relatively quick start to the game, and were rewarded just over a minute into regulation. Mika Zibanejad picked up his second goal of the season after he parked himself in front of the net, and redirected Ryan McDonagh’s point shot. Jimmy Howard was unable to get apiece of the shot, and the Rangers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.
Following the early goal, the Red Wings settled in a bit and started to push the Rangers back in their own zone. While the Red Wings turned the tables a bit, the Rangers did an excellent job of cutting down any high quality chances in front of the net.
During the second half of the period, the Rangers turned the momentum back in their favor and started pushing the pace yet again. Jimmy Vesey had a golden opportunity on a breakaway, but just barely missed, followed by another threatening chance from Brady Skjei.
If not for some awful puck luck, the Rangers could have easily been up by at least three goals heading into the intermission. Unfortunately, they were only able to cash in once, but on the bright side, they had 24 shot attempts compared to Detroit’s 15 at the end of 20 minutes.
Heading into the second period, the Rangers picked up where they left off and continued pressuring the Red Wings. Unfortunately for them, Jimmy Howard was still lights out and was shutting down scoring chances left and right. At the 6:15 mark, the Red Wings finally broke through and tied the game up at one with a goal coming from Thomas Vanek. Frans Nielsen did an excellent job of finding Vanek in the high slot, and he redirected it over the shoulder of Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers didn’t let that goal get to them, and they wound up out-shooting the Red Wings to the tune of 27-14 after two periods. If I’m Alain Vigneault, there’s not really much you can tell your team aside from putting the puck in the net. Through 40 minutes, the Rangers were doing everything right, but just couldn’t catch a break with Jimmy Howard in the net.
As good as the Rangers were playing, one small mistake in the third period wound up costing them two points. Just a minute into the final frame, Henrik Lundqvist went on adventure behind the net, and turned over the puck to Luke Glendening. Glendening quickly shoveled the puck out front, and Drew Miller cleaned up the rebound to put the Wings ahead 2-1.
The Rangers had plenty of chances to pull back evening, but they were unable to find a solution for Jimmy Howard. The Wings netminer was simple amazing all night long, and if there was one person that deserved to win that game, it was Howard. With the goalie pulled in the final minute, the Rangers weren’t able to generate much of anything, and dropped their second game of the season.
This was another situation where the Rangers deserved to win, but this time around they were beat by a hot goaltender. You probably remember us preaching process during the game against the St. Louis Blues, and that same thing applies tonight. If the Rangers continue to dominate like they have been, it’s going to be one heck of a season.
The Rangers will have two days off before they head into a back-to-back series this weekend with the Washington Capitals and Arizona Coyotes.