Courtesy: Detroit Free Press
NEW YORK, NY (Detroit Free Press) -- The Detroit Red Wings needed Jimmy Howard to be their no. 1 star. He delivered.
Howard let in one goal, deflected by a teammate, late in the third period Thursday at Madison Square Garden, the only goal scored as the New York Rangers claimed a 1-0 victory. It's the second straight game the Wings have been shut out, reflecting their mind-boggling levels of injuries.
Howard finished with 47 saves.
To get the gist of how badly off the Wings are personnel wise, this was Thursday for them: Joakim Andersson skated in the morning; by afternoon, he joined the legions of teammates holed up in sick bay, and Cory Emmerton was on a flight so that he could give the Wings 12 forwards for the evening. Andersson suffered lower-body injury that has him listed as day-to-day. That left the Wings without him, Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm, who on a depth chart would be their centers one through four. Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen were also among the absentees.
The power play is where the lack of regulars shows up most visibly. The first man advantage against the Rangers saw lots of threatening, especially from Tomas Jurco, but no conversion. A second man advantage was less impressive, but the Wings did at least tie the Rangers up in their zone for a stretch.
Jimmy Howard and Henrik Lundqvist matched each other almost shot for shot, with Howard making back-to-back saves on Ryan McDonagh late in the first period, the second off a point shot. By the end of the first period, Howard had made 18 saves, to Lundqvist's 15.
The Rangers parlayed their first power play into a furious if short attack, with Rick Nash sending in a terrific shot from the right circle. Howard got his teammates through the second period; he made 16 saves through the first 16 minutes. He got some help from Kyle Quincey right after a penalty to Danny DeKeyser had expired, with Quincey whipping away Ryan Callahan's shot after Howard had stepped out of his crease to challenge. Howard made 17 saves start to finish in the second period to reach 35 for the game.
Michael Del Zotto had one of the early chances in the third period, trying to break the scoreless game with a low shot from the left circle. Henrik Zetterberg forced a diving save from Lundqvist in return. Todd Bertuzzi's line with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco had two good chances, with Brian Boyle making a good defensive move on Sheahan on the second one. The Wings were way more aggressive in the third period, with the defense getting more involved in plays, especially from Niklas Kronwall and DeKeyser.
The Ranger didn't break Howard until six minutes to go in regulation, when Mats Zuccarello's shot, a pass intended for Brassard, went in off Brian Lashoff's stick. That was the Rangers' 46th shot of the game. Nyquist had a chance denied off a faceoff win in the final minute with the puck going off the post and then Lundqvist.