The fans at Madison Square Garden went to a hockey game and a pitcher’s duel broke out.
Goalies Jimmy Howard of Detroit and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers engaged in a clinic on net minding, with the Rangers coming out on top, 1-0 with a goal late in the third period to win it.
Mats Zuccarello fluttered a puck past Howard at the 14:02 mark on an odd-man rush deep in the Detroit zone for the game’s only goal.
It started ominously for the shooters, as 33 shots were fired in the opening period alone (18 NY, 15 DET), but with goose eggs on the scoreboard.
The loss was the second straight 1-0 defeat for the Red Wings (20-17-10), who ended their five-game road trip through the Pacific and Atlantic coasts (with a pit stop in Detroit in between) with a 2-3 record.
Howard, though the losing goalie, surely must have regained some confidence with tonight’s performance.
The Red Wings, as usual, were playing with a patchwork lineup due to multiple injuries.
It was an important game, playoff race-wise, as the Rangers (25-21-3) and Red Wings are battling for the two at-large wild card berths.
This was a terrific hockey game, despite the lack of goal scoring throughout. There was lots of end-to-end action, and as stated, the goaltending was magnificent.
A tough loss for Detroit, but with the exception of the first half of the second period, the Red Wings matched the Rangers rush-for-rush.
BOTTOM LINE: A 2-3 road trip is disappointing, but it’s hard to be unhappy losing this game, as the short-handed Red Wings gave it all they had.
THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: The road trip was big, but even bigger is the upcoming five-game home stand. As you know, the Red Wings have been brutal at home. There has been no more important home stand for the Red Wings in years than the one coming up now, with points at a premium.