For a second straight game the Detroit Red Wings pushed back on a two-goal deficit.
Their outing Friday at Little Caesars Arena against the New York Rangers featured, as it usually does, terrific goaltending from Jimmy Howard and Henrik Lundqvist.
The Wings didn’t start well and a double minor in the second period was costly. But Justin Abdelkader and Andreas Athanasiou scored early and late, respectively, in the third period to force overtime.
Dylan Larkin won it, 3-2, with 5.1 seconds to play in OT when he finished a pass from Athanasiou.
Howard delivers again
Howard made a clutch save on Rangers forward Chris Kreider early in the first period as the Wings were outplayed by an opponent to start a game for the third straight time. While Darren Helm sat in the penalty box for a delay of game, Frans Nielsen and Abdelkader created a scoring chance at the other end. Howard didn’t have to make any saves during that penalty, but back at even strength, he had to make quick work of a sudden shot from Jesper Fast after the Wings lost possession down low. Nielsen hit a goalpost off a rising shot from the circle. It wasn’t until late in the first period the Wings finally established some decent offensive zone time, but they only managed six shots on net in the first period, compared to 11 by the Rangers.
The Wings looked better in the second period as they found ways to get into the Rangers zone and bore down on sending pucks at Lundqvist. Michael Rasmussen got the puck behind Lundqvist at 7:35, but the goal was immediately waved off because of a hand pass. Dennis Cholowski had a juicy chance in the slot but sent the puck over the net. During a Wings power play, Lundqvist snatched Mike Green’s shot with a glove save. The Wings did have possession of the puck the entire two minutes.
Things soured for the Wings when Jacob de la Rose took a double high-sticking penalty on Kevin Hayes. Kevin Shattenkirk made it 1-0 on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle while Howard had two people in front of him. With the Rangers still on the power play, Neal Pionk scored 40 seconds later to put the Wings in a two-goal hole, with the puck deflecting off Helm.
Eyeing a rally
Abdelkader scored for a second straight game and for the third time in four games, halving the Rangers’ lead 1:46 into the third period. The Wings were playing with a short bench, as de la Rose did not return for the third period because of an upper-body injury. The Wings had some good chances, but the Rangers used their speed to continually push into Detroit’s zone and test Howard.
Athanasiou, in his first game back after missing four because of injury, tied the game with 2:02 to play in regulation, slashing to the net and stuffing a backhand on Lundqvist. Nielsen, who’d also missed four games, drew the primary assist. Larkin drew a penalty with 1:49 to play to put the Wings on a power play.
Contact Helene St. James: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.
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