The Rangers came to Detroit with a set of new lines, a returning Ryan Lindgren, and their dads in tow. After a tough loss to the Islanders, some combination of those things seemed to do the trick, as the Rangers downed the Red Wings 8-2.
In the first period, they very much looked like a team adjusting to new lines. Neither team seemed able to establish an offensive zone presence or create many high quality chances. The Rangers broke the stalemate when Mika Zibanejad, who was playing in career game number 700, cleanly won an offensive zone draw to Adam Fox. Fox put on a nifty move before setting up the center for a one-time from the high slot. Zibanejad’s aim was true and he put the Rangers up 1-0. It was his eighth goal of the season, and only his second at even-strength.
Mika Zibanejad with the goal, but check the set up for Adam Fox pic.twitter.com/3GFN9vgf9z— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) November 11, 2022
The Red Wings answered in mere minutes, when former first round pick Joe Veleno tied the game. Veleno started the Red Wings breakout with a pass to Jonatan Berggren, who made his NHL debut tonight. He gained the offensive zone and hit Veleno with a return pass, and Igor Shesterkin was unable to stop the following shot. The goal was Veleno’s second of the year, and the primary assist was Berggren’s first career point.
The next goal came in the second period. After some back-and-forth play that included Trocheck being denied on the doorstep, Filip Hronek slapped the puck around the boards into the Rangers zone. Shesterkin narrowly missed playing the puck, and thus it rolled on to K’Andre Miller. Miller made an uncharacteristic blunder, moving the puck weakly up the boards and directly onto the stick of Dylan Larkin. Larkin set up Lucas Raymond in the slot, and the second-year Swede made no mistake. After a slow start, Raymond has been on a tear lately and he put the Wings up 2-1.
But this time the Rangers had a quick answer. Chris Kreider drew a trip from Ben Chiarot, and scored the game tying goal on the ensuing powerplay. The Rangers deftly moved the puck, once again setting up Trocheck with another chance that was denied. The Rangers reset, and at the right point, Fox faked a slapshot and pulled off a spin move that opened a lane to a wide open Panarin. Panarin put the puck directly on Kreider’s stick, who deflected it into the net. The goal was Kreider’s fifth of the year.
Going into tonight's game, the Rangers had generated 10.99 expected goals for per 60 on the power play (2nd in the league, per @EvolvingHockey). Their actual goals rate of 8.86 per 60 is at eighth. The scoring is going to catch up to that offensive generation. pic.twitter.com/8hSz1souMh— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) November 11, 2022
That tie would stand until Adam Fox wracked up his third point of the game on the go ahead goal. After a breakout pass, Filip Chytil received the puck in the offensive zone from Alexis Lafrenière. He tried to center the puck, but it went under the tied up stick of Kappo Kakko and hit off the boards. Fox played the bounce and fired a clapper past Husso for what would become the game winning goal.
From there, the Rangers never looked back, scoring a whopping six goals in the third. Goodrow, Zibanejad, and Gauthier each scored within two minutes of each other. Against all odds, Libor Hajek even chipped in for the fifth of the period. Jimmy Vesey tallied a shorthanded goal for number six.
The Rangers needed a win like this to rebuild confidence after crumbling against the Islanders. This was the first time since nearly the start of the season the Rangers had a full complement of healthy forwards, and the new lines seemed to work–delightfully, each line contributed at least one goal. Plus, the return of Ryan Lindgren stabilized the defense, and though he wasn’t tested often, Shesterkin did enough in net. For a team that has ranked so well in expected goals but finished so poorly, this eruption was cathartic to say the least.
The Rangers will look to keep this new momentum rolling in Nashville Saturday night.