The past two games were painful to watch if you were a Detroit Red Wings fan. The return of a star player seemed to spark the Wings back to their former selves
After suffering back-to-back shutouts at the hands of Columbus and Nashville, Detroit got Pavel Datsyuk back just in time for the star forward to snap Detroit’s scoreless streak and help the Wings beat the New York Rangers on Monday, 3-2.
Jimmy Howard returned to form as well, stopping 45 of 47 shots for Detroit, which also got goals from Jiri Hudler and Drew Miller.
New York got some strong goaltending of its own from Martin Biron, who stopped 32 shots for the Rangers. Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky scored the tallies for New York, which dropped its fifth straight game.
Datsyuk finally broke through for Detroit 2:52 into the second in vintage Datsyuk fashion, forcing a turnover in the New York zone before finally taking a pass from Hudler in front of Biron and banging home his own rebound. It was the Wings’ first goal in 143:26 of playing time.
New York tied the game three minutes into the third period when Stepan deposited a pass from Matt Gilroy behind Howard after Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson failed to cover Gilroy at the point.
Ericsson made up for it less than two minutes later, finding Hudler on cross-ice pass that the Red Wing forward one-timed past Biron to regain the lead.
Ericsson’s rocky night wasn’t over however.
With Detroit leading 3-1 on Miller’s fourth goal of the year, Ericsson got caught on an offensive zone pinch in, which led to an odd man break for the Rangers the other way, resulting in Dubinsky’s shot that beat Howard to slice the lead to 3-2. Then with the Rangers scrambling to tie, Ericsson high-sticked Sean Avery, resulting in a penalty with just under four minutes left to play.
A little over a minute after Ericsson’s penalty, Justin Abdelkader high-sticked Avery again, cutting Avery’s nose, which is an automatic four-minute penalty. New York was unable to generate anything on the 5-on-3 portion of the penalty, thanks to Henrik Zetterberg’s stellar defensive work. The Rangers pulled Biron for a 6-on-4 advantage for the rest of regulation, but were unable to tally the equalizer.