Frans Nielsen scored the only goal in the shootout, to lead the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Rangers Friday night in Detroit. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Red Wings, while the Rangers have now lost 3 of their last 4 games.
It was the 3rd time in the last four games that the Blueshirts needed a shootout to decide things; they lost to the Devils in Newark December 21st, and beat the Capitals Wednesday in Washington.
The game featured quite the goaltending duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard. Lundqvist finished with 33 saves, while Howard came away with 37.
David Desharnais got the Blueshirts on the board late in the 1st period, beating Howard at 17:23 for his 4th goal of the year to give New York a 1-0 lead. Andreas Athanasiou tied the game, 1-1, at the 7:46 mark of the 2nd period.
Early in the 3rd period, Vinny Lettieri, playing in his first NHL game, scored his 1st NHL goal, off a pass from Boo Nieves at 2:35, to make it 2-1. Lettieri was in the line-up in place of Chris Kreider, who is out indefinitely, having been diagnosed with a blood clot in his arm.
But Henrik Zetterberg, the Detroit captain, made it a 2-2 game at 7:05. After Gustav Nyqvist deflected an errant Nieves pass in the New York zone, Zetterberg got the puck, and skated in on Lundqvist. His first shot was stopped, but Zetterberg beat Lundqvist with the rebound for his 8th goal of the season.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime, Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad, and Kevin Shattenkirk could not score in the shootout. Nielsen’s goal in the first frame proved to be the game-winner.
The Rangers [now 20-13-5, 45 pts] play the Buffalo Sabres Monday in Citi Field in the NHL Winter Classic.