Red Wings break out of three-game skid
DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings finally made the big plays to come out on top.
Frans Nielsen scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the New York Rangers on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Andreas Athanasiou and Henrik Zetterberg scored in regulation for Detroit, which snapped a three-game losing streak and has won only four of its last 17 (4-8-5).
“I liked the two points. I can tell you that,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
Jimmy Howard stopped 37 shots and thwarted Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Shattenkirk in the shootout. He also stopped defenseman Brady Skjei on a penalty shot with 2:38 left in overtime.
“It’s just a great feeling. We’ve been playing really well of late, haven’t had that feeling coming in, feel like you left something out on the ice,” Howard said. “But tonight it was a great feeling to come in here and celebrate with the guys.”
David Desharnais and Vinni Lettieri, with his first career goal in his first NHL game, scored for New York. Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves.
“That was a pretty good hockey game, and I thought we played really well,” Lundqvist said. “It would have been tough to come out of here with nothing after playing that hard, so I’m glad we at least got a point.”
Lundqvist talked about the shootout ability of Nielsen, one of the best in the NHL at it.
“He’s got so many moves in the shootout that you never know what he’s going to do,” Lundqvist said. “It’s tough to score on those — we had four chances counting the penalty shot — but he beat me. I need to be better on those — that’s two in a row I’ve lost.”
The Rangers and Lundqvist lost 4-3 to the New Jersey Devils in a shootout on Dec. 21.
Zetterberg tied the score at 2 just 7:05 into the third period when he put in his own rebound to capitalize on a New York turnover in its own zone. It was Zetterberg’s sixth goal of the season.
“It was a good effort by Bert (Tyler Bertuzzi) and Gus (Gustav Nyquist) on the forecheck there, backcheck, I will say,” Zetterberg said. “Right on my stick and shot it and went for the rebound. It was nice to score a goal here at home.”
New York coach Alain Vigneault said, “I thought we were really good in the third period, and we created a lot of chances, but we couldn’t put one in the net.
“If we make it 3-1 at some point, we’re in much better shape. The power play especially did some good things, but we didn’t finish.”
Lettieri gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead 2:35 into the third period with his first goal. He scored from the slot after taking a pass from Boo Nieves off a Red Wings turnover in the defensive zone.
“I was nervous on my first couple shifts, but I settled down after that,” Lettieri said.
He was called up from AHL Hartford on Thursday to replace forward Chris Kreider, who sat out his first game after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his right arm. Kreider is out indefinitely.
Athanasiou tied the score 1-1 for the Red Wings 7:46 into the second period when he caught up to an aerial lead pass from center Dylan Larkin after it hit the ice and beat Lundqvist with a one-time forehand shot from the inside edge of the left circle.
It was Athanasiou’s sixth goal of the season and first in 16 games.
New York center Paul Carey hit the goal post 2:30 into the second period.
Lundqvist made an outstanding pad save on Athanasiou’s one-timer from below the left circle off a cross-crease pass from Larkin with 6:03 left in the second period.
Desharnais gave New York a 1-0 lead with 2:25 left in the first period when he scored from in front one a one-timer off a pass from left winger Jimmy Vesey, who was behind the net.
NOTES: Vinnie Lettieri is the grandson of former NHL player, coach and general manager Lou Nanne. ... Detroit RW Anthony Mantha did not play because of an undisclosed injury. He was replaced in the lineup by LW David Booth. ... New York D Brendan Smith formerly played for the Red Wings. ... Rangers RW Jasper Fast missed his third game with a quad strain.