After coming off such a decisive win (4-0) against Dallas on Friday night, the Red Wings can’t be too pleased with their play in Saturday night’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers. Passes were bumbled. The Rangers were more often than not the first to scoop up loose pucks. The Red Wings didn’t have much trouble getting the puck through New York’s trap, but they did have trouble keeping the puck in the Rangers’ zone long enough to set up a scoring chance. Most of the play was at center ice or in Detroit’s zone, and that, in the end, is what cost the game.
The Rangers started out seeming a little shaky and unsure of themselves, but they gained in confidence when Petr Nedved opened the scoring late in the third period. Dominik Hasek attempted to shove the puck towards Nicklas Lidstrom, but Lidstrom couldn’t quite get to it. Nedved got to it first and shot it into the net over Hasek’s outstretched leg.
Mark Messier had a chance to increase New York’s lead early in the second when he got out on a breakaway. Hasek came all the way out to the left circle to challenge him, then the two got tangled up in each other’s skates. Messier attempted a shot from his prone position on the ice, but the puck went wide of the net.
It was left to Bobby Holik to score the eventual game winner for New York. He and Chris Simon carried the puck into Detroit’s zone on a give-and-go play. Holik took a shot from the right circle which slid between Hasek’s leg pads.
Mathieu Schneider’s power play goal brought Detroit back into the game with 7:27 left in the second period. Tomas Holmstrom carried the puck back into the zone after it had been cleared and left it for Schneider. Schneider took a booming shot from the top of the left circle, which went right through Mike Dunham’s five-hole.
The Red Wings gained some momentum from the power play goal, but by the third period, the Rangers were slowly regaining control. Hasek had another chance to shine when Messier and Simon led a rush against him. Messier made a back pass to Simon, who broke through and made the shot, but Hasek made the save with his left shoulder then flopped onto his back to cover the puck in his traditional “snow angel” style.
The Red Wings pulled Hasek from the net for an extra attacker in the final minute of play, but Messier sealed the game by firing the puck into the empty Detroit net. Shots on net totaled 32 to 24 in favor of New York. The Red Wings will return home for a few days off before facing the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
Jamie Rivers made his first appearance in the lineup, in place of Steve Yzerman, who will most likely not be played in back-to-back games this season. Rivers, who normally plays defense, played right wing on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Ray Whitney…. The Rangers are 0 for 26 on the power play this season. They are the only team which has yet to capitalize with the man-advantage…. This was the first time the Rangers have beaten the Red Wings at Madison Square Garden since March 1997.