After a controversial ending to their last game, the New York Rangers responded tonight with a big 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Antti Raanta, who will man the net for the next 2-3 weeks, picked up his 14th win of the season after turning away 23 shots on goal. Even though he did face a decent volume of shots, the Red Wings didn’t really threaten Raanta all that much and it was a relatively easy outing for the goaltender.
The Rangers were a better team for a most, if not all of this game, and as a result, they leaped out to a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Kevin Hayes started it all off by lugging the puck up ice for a shorthanded opportunity, and held it out on his backhand upon entering the zone. Petr Mrazek wound up biting on the shot, and Hayes slipped the puck through his legs.
Right as the puck entered the crease, Ryan McDonagh got a slight piece of the puck and deflected it into the empty net. One of the Rangers few questionable moments came early in the second period, where Detroit completely carved up the defense and evened up the game on the power play.
A nifty little tic-tac-toe passing play between Justin Abdelkader, and Gustav Nyquist was finished off by Frans Nielsen and that appeared to give the Red Wings some life. However, the Rangers responded about 10 minutes later and added two separate goals that came 37 seconds apart. Ryan McDonagh notched his second goal of the night on a net front scramble, and tapped home a loose puck inside of the crease.
Right after that, the Rangers came right back down the ice and Kevin Hayes finished off a beautiful centering feed by J.T. Miller. The Red Wings had various coverage issues on the goal, which allowed Hayes to slip in on the backdoor undetected. That two goal outburst by the Rangers all sealed this game, as the Red Wings were never able to recover.
Although, the Rangers did have several more scoring opportunities in the third period, and added one final marker late in the game. Derek Stepan, who held a 23 game scoreless drought, finally picked up a goal in this game and gave the Rangers a 4-1 lead on the power play. Just prior to the goal, it appeared as if Chris Kreider was going to take the shot, but elected to pass it over to Stepan in an attempt to get him on the board.
Thankfully, it all worked out in the end, and maybe this goal will finally get Stepan going again in the goal department. Sometimes all a player needs is one before the floodgates finally open, and the goals start piling up in bunches. With the Joe Louis Arena closing at the end of the season, the Rangers made their final trip a memorable one in the form of a 4-1 victory.
The Rangers will only get to enjoy this win for a short time, as they will jump right back into action tomorrow night at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.