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The Malik Report

The overnight report: Red Wings-Rangers wrap-up and Wings-Devils set-up

The Detroit Red Wings did manage to rebound from their embarrassing loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night, but things didn't go quite as planned in New York. The Red Wings lost 2-1 in overtime to the New York Rangers, wasting a 29-save effort from a sensational Jimmy Howard.

This evening, the 10-9-and-4 Red Wings will host the 13-5-and-4 New Jersey Devils (7 PM EST on FSD/MSG+ 2/97.1 FM), who won a 3-2 decision over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

New Jersey has won 2 of their past 3 games and they've gotten points in all 3 (losing to Boston in a shootout), while the Wings are winless in 3 (0-1-and-2).

On Friday, the Rangers won in no small part thanks to Henrik Lundqvist's 40-save performance, and Lundqvist told the New York Daily News's Justin Tasch that for him, the good times are rolling:

“To me, there’s only one thing that makes me laugh a lot, and that’s winning. It’s hard for me to enjoy anything away from the rink, at the rink, when we’re not winning,” Lundqvist said after tying his season-high in saves for the second time in eight days. “In our last 11 games here, 9-2, it’s easier to relax. It’s important to me that we do well and that we’re winning. That’s the best solution."

And the Rangers (12-9-2) have been doing a lot of that lately after a brutal 12-game start to the season. They’ve won three straight and nine of their last 11 contests, this one sealed by a Mats Zuccarello goal 37 seconds into the extra three-on-three period, sending a Garden crowd which was as loud as it had been all season into a frenzy.

The only puck to get through Lundqvist Friday came with two seconds remaining on a power play at 4:05, which broke the donut deadlock caused by a thrilling goaltending display between Lundqvist and Jimmy Howard before Chris Kreider tied the game at 10:17. In the six games Lundqvist and Howard have faced off in their careers, no more than four total goals have been scored; two ended 2-1 and two ended 1-0.

Lundqvist has stopped all 70 even-strength shots he’s faced over the last three games. In his last 10 games, Lundqvist has a 2.05 goals against average and a .937 save percentage.

“He’s confident in there. Looks like he’s enjoying himself,” Marc Staal said of Lundqvist. “It looks like he’s having some fun. He’s smiling and competing really hard.”

The Rangers were outshot 17-6 in a rough first period before turning it around in the second, when Howard stopped all of the Blueshirts’ 16 shots. “I think the first period we played really bad and we weren’t into the game at all,” Zuccarello said, before jokingly adding, “too much turkey yesterday for some of the guys maybe.”

The Rangers worked off their turkey and then some, and the Rangers ended up finishing on top of what Newsday's Steve Zipay noted was all but a scripted finish:

The Rangers and the Red Wings are getting used to overtime. Seven of the last 13 games between them have been decided in in the extra period.

On Friday night it was yet another overtime game, and the Rangers prevailed. Mats Zuccarello, on Brady Skjei’s hard-fought assist, beat goalie Jimmy Howard just 37 seconds into the extra period for a 2-1 victory at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers’ seventh straight win at home. Henrik Lundqvist, who has allowed just four goals in the last four games, posted 40 saves.

Being hounded by two defenders in the 3-on-3 overtime, Skjei’s first pass to Zuccarello, standing to Howard’s right, was blocked, but it bounced back to the Rangers defenseman. He swatted the puck a second time to the wide open Zuccarello, who waited and waited until he saw an opening and fired in his fourth of the season for the game-winner.

“I didn’t know what he was going to do, I thought he was going to give the puck back to me. I said ‘no no, no, shoot the puck,’ ” said Skjei.

The Rangers trailed 1-0 before Chris Kreider’s backhander bounced off Howard’s pad at 10:17 of the third to tie the score. It was Kreider’s third goal in the past two games. Tomas Tatar’s power-play blast, with Michael Grabner in the box, at 4:05 of the third had opened the scoring. The goal followed a failed attempt to clear by Marc Staal when Justin Abdelkader deflected his pass.

“We were getting our chances,” said Skjei. “You’re going to score a few times if you keep playing like that.”

Said Lundqvist: “It was a great finish by us.”

Zuccarello shruged off his goal, as NewYorkRangers.com's Matt Calamia noted...

Brady Skjei won a one-on-two battle below the Detroit goal line and shoveled a pass to Zuccarello, who was uncovered in front and went top shelf to beat Jimmy Howard for the victory.

"I tried to go there, obviously, but it doesn't go there all the time," Zuccarello said. "It's nice to see it go in."

And Zuccarello emulated his teammates in heaping praise on their goaltender:

Lundqvist's first period left a mark on his teammates, and kept his team in the game long enough for the offense to come alive in the third and the overtime period.

"Hank is our best player, our leader on the ice," Zuccarello said. "We expect him to be like that every game. We know he can be, too. If we can help him out, we know how good he can be. It's just good to see that he held us in to that game in the first period. It's good to see and it gives us a chance to come out in the second and take over."

Lundqvist told Reuters that he's just doing his job...

“I‘m trying to be on my toes right now,” said Lundqvist, who was making his 11th straight start. “I feel the last three to four weeks, I am playing the way I want to play. I‘m aggressive but still patient. Physically, I feel great. People talk to me about starting a lot of games, but physically you never get tired -- it’s mentally. Right now, I‘m in a nice flow where I don’t overthink things, so I feel rested.”

“I think now we’re playing better in front of him,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “But tonight, there’s no doubt that he was a difference maker in a lot of situations.”

Lundqvist’s best save while the game was scoreless came against Dylan Larkin in the first period. Larkin got behind the Rangers defense for a breakaway but had his shot turned aside by Lundqvist, who also benefited from the goal post on that shot and another in the second period from defenseman Mike Green.

The only puck to get past Lundqvist was a one-time blast by Tomas Tatar early in the third period. It was a perfect shot with heavy traffic in front of the net that gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead at 4:05 of the third period.

Jimmy Howard came out on the short end of the goaltending duel, as he allowed just one goal in regulation to Chris Kreider off a rebound six minutes after Tatar scored. Otherwise, Howard, who made a sparkling save on Kevin Shattenkirk in the second period, was just as brilliant.

“Both goalies were obviously great,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said, “but I thought we did lots of good stuff we can certainly build on.”

And both teams felt that the game was about as good as it gets in terms of entertainment factor, as they told NHL.com's Dan Rosen:

"We did a tremendous job from the start of the game," Howard said. "It's one of those where after you felt like you deserved the two points."

Howard and Lundqvist combined to allow three or fewer goals in the same game for the sixth consecutive time, dating to Dec. 6, 2009. It's the third time they kept the game 0-0 going into the third period.

They combined for 49 saves through two periods. Lundqvist had 27 saves, 17 in the first period. Howard had 22 saves, 16 in the second.

Lundqvist denied Red Wings forwards Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist on breakaways in the first period. Howard made post-to-post saves on forward Rick Nash and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in the second.

Rangers forward Michael Grabner hit the left post early in the second period and watched the puck slide through the crease, parallel to the goal line. Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha cleared it away.

Detroit defenseman Mike Green hit the right post with a one-timer from above the right circle at 16:51 of the second.

"A lot of people complain about low-scoring games," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said, "but for me, anyway, this was as entertaining as it could get."

The Associated Press's recap will serve as our pivot point between the Rangers and Red Wings' perspectives:

Tomas Tatar scored for Detroit, and Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots as the Red Wings fell to 10-9-4 but their coach Jeff Blashill was heartened by his team's effort.

"Overall we played the way we need to play to be successful," he said. "Both goalies were obviously great. And they are a team that wins many games here for a reason."

The Wings told the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan that they were happy with their overall games, both collectively and individually, but Howard felt that he could have played better:

“Both guys did (make big saves) when called upon, for both teams,” Howard said. “It was unfortunate I couldn’t come up with one more. I just wanted to play well for the boys. I didn’t feel like I had my A-game in the last couple games. They deserve better out of me.”

Howard made 30 saves, Lundqvist turned aside 40, as both staged another goaltending clinic.

“Both goalies were obviously great,” said coach Jeff Blashill, who didn’t mind the Red Wings’ overall game. “It was way more towards our identity. We played closer to the way we want to play to be successful.”

The Red Wings (10-9-4) have lost three consecutive games (0-1-2) but, Blashill they felt positive about this outcome.

“If we play like this, good things will happen for us,” said Tomas Tatar, who scored the Red Wings goal.

Howard, an upstate New York native who has said he enjoys playing at Madison Square Garden, entered the game with a 5-3-2 career record against the Rangers, with gaudy statistics (1.69 goals-against average. .951 save percentage).

“This is a great place to play, the fans are into it, they’re usually tight games, and it makes for a fun atmosphere,” Howard said. “Everyone enjoys coming here. It’s the greatest arena in the world as far as I’m concerned. Being from New York, I love playing here.”

Coach Blashill suggested that his team still had room for improvement, as the Free Press's Helene St. James noted...

“It was way more towards our identity,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought we played way closer to the way we want to play to be successful. Both goalies were obviously great. We did lots of good stuff that we can certainly build on. There’s areas we’ve got to shore up – now some of that is they’re a real good team. They’ve won lots of games here for a reason and they certainly test you in your D-zone.  I didn’t think our D-zone was quite good enough in the second. But overall, we played the way we need to play to be successful and the way we’ve played the last large stretch of games that we have been successful.”

And there is one aspect of the team's play that's humming along right now:

The Wings took a 1-0 lead early in the third period when Tomas Tatar blasted the puck towards the net, taking advantage of Justin Abdelkader screening Lundqvist with the man advantage. The Wings have converted on the power play in eight of their last 10 games (and in one of the two, they didn’t get any power plays), a stark contrast to last year’s struggles.

The Wings are getting the bounces they missed last year – Zetterberg said he wasn’t making a pass to Niklas Kronwall, but the puck hit a Rangers player and bounced to Kronwall, who fed Tatar for the goal.

“You just have to keep going and keep playing and keep believing in what you are doing,” Zetterberg said. “Eventually the puck will go in, and it has been good lately.”

The captain and Tomas Tatar told St. James that even in a loss, the Wings established something of a blueprint for winning games:

“You can’t do more than put pucks on there and be there for second chances and we did that,” Zetterberg said. “It was a fun game to play. It’s always fun to come into this building and play in this arena and today, too, I thought both teams played a good hockey game. We got back to playing the way we want to. Now we just have to follow this up with the same tomorrow.”

...

“Overall if we play like this, good things will happen,” Tatar said. “We came out strong, we played for 60 minutes – the only thing we were missing were more goals. Howie was outstanding. We knew we are way better and I think we stepped in tonight.”

Coach Blashill agreed, as he told DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:

Quotable II: "I thought our guys did a good job of staying with it. We've talked lots that frustration is a total waste of time, it doesn't do anybody any good at all. Let's just keep focusing on having great process and it's the same for our team. If we play like that on a consistent basis, which we have over the course of the last 2 1/2 - 3 weeks, we'll be good hockey team. So let's keep playing like that." - Blashill

Highlights: NHL.com posted a 4:54 highlight clip...

And an 8:58 "condensed game":

Post-game: The Rangers' website posted Twitter videos of Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Shattenkirk, Henrik Lundqvist and coach Alain Vigneault's post-game comments, as well as a post-game report;

The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a clip of Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard and coach Jeff Blashill's comments...

And the Red Wings posted a clip of Zetterberg, Howard, Tomas Tatar and coach Blashill's remarks:

Photos: The Free Press posted an 11-image gallery;

The Detroit News posted a 10-image gallery;

ESPN posted a 57-image gallery;

And NHL.com and the Red Wings' website posted 87-image galleries.

Statistics:

Here's the Game Summary...

And the Event Summary

Red Wings notebooks and also of Red Wings-related note: DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji updated Trevor Daley's condition:

At 12:05 of the first period, Detroit defenseman Trevor Daley tried to avoid running into one of the Rangers and in doing so, made an awkward toe stop and then fell into the player.

Daley immediately went down and athletic trainer Piet Van Zant rushed out to attend to him.

Although Daley was able to get up and skate off with some help, the Wings announced before the second period that he would not return due to an upper-body injury.

"We'll see tomorrow," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said after the game. "It's hard for me to say whether it was a stinger or whether it's anything more serious. He's going to get an MRI tomorrow at 10, so I'll know way more after that. I'm hoping it was just a stinger, but we'll see."

 

Red Wings-Devils set-up: Again, the 10-9-and-4 Red Wings host a 13-5-and-4 New Jersey Devils team this evening (7 PM EST on FSD/MSG+ 2/97.1 FM) with an 0-1-and-2 team hoping to snap a winless streak against a team that's gone 2-0-and-1 over its past three games.

The Devils won an emotional 3-2 decision over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, with Brian Boyle scoring on the Devils' Hockey Fights Cancer night (Boyle is battling a form of leukemia). The Associated Press told the tale of Friday's Devils win...

The Prudential Center erupted with cheers when Boyle, set up by a beautiful drop pass from Will Butcher, scored at 10:17 of the second period to snap a 1-1 tie.

"He has a flair for the dramatic. It gives you chills," said Taylor Hall who sparked the Devils with a goal and two assists. "I can't imagine what it's like being him, what he's been through, what his family's been through. To come back, play well for us and score on Hockey Fights Cancer Night, it's awesome to see and puts a lot of things in perspective for us as hockey players."

Damon Severson also scored for New Jersey and Cory Schneider made 23 saves to improve to 6-1-2 against the team that made him a first-round draft pick in 2004. The win gave the Devils a sweep of the two-game season series, having beaten the Canucks 2-0 in Vancouver on Nov. 1.

Daniel Sedin and Bo Horvat scored for Vancouver, one of the NHL's top road teams. The loss ended the Canucks three-game road winning streak, including victories in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to start their current six-game trip.

The Devils had a 10-9 shot advantage in the opening period that lacked quality scoring chances for both sides. Each team had a good opportunity late in the period. Jacob Markstrom denied Blake Coleman's drive from the right wing to keep the Devils off the scoreboard, then Schneider squeezed the pads tightly to stop Christopher Tanev's wrister from the slot.

Hall opened the scoring at 2:15 of the second period, ripping a shot from the bottom of the left circle over Markstrom's shoulder. Daniel Sedin knotted the game at 5:36, setting the stage for Boyle's power-play goal.

Severson cleaned up the rebound after Hall hit the post to put New Jersey ahead 3-1. In the third, the Canucks provided some late suspense as Horvat, set up by Daniel Sedin, got a power-play scorer at 10:37.

As did NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale:

"It was a kind of a game where you saw individual plays define the game, and you're starting to see that from our team," Hall said. "We have playmakers and skill through the lineup. Some nights that'll carry you through."

The goal by Boyle, who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia two months ago, came on Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night.

His power-play goal at 10:17 of the second period gave the Devils a 2-1 lead. Will Butcher took a drop pass from Hall, skated over the blue line and drew three defenders to him before passing to Boyle.

"It's part of a club you don't necessarily want to be in, but I feel great," Boyle said. "The support from everybody here has been unbelievable."

Boyle, who signed a two-year, $5.1 million contract with New Jersey on July 1, missed the first 10 games of the season before making his Devils debut on Nov. 1.

"It's really cool to see him not only playing but playing well," Hall said. "It puts a lot of things in perspective for us as hockey players, and on Hockey Fights Cancer Night, to see him score, and hear the chants after ... it's awesome."

Fans began chanting "Brian Boyle" after the goal was announced.

"I was excited, excited to help, and after that, the crowd ... and it got a little dusty again," Boyle said.

Morreale duly notes that Keith Kincaid will be starting for the Devils tonight, probably opposite Petr Mrazek. As you'll see in NHL.com's Devils-Canucks highlight clip, Corey Schneider earned his paycheck on Friday:

NorthJersey.com's Andrew Gross wrote both a recap and a set of post-game observations  which state that the Devils won't be holding a morning skate today. I doubt that the Wings will hold more than an optional, either...

Anyway, among Gross's observations:

“It was a fun night,” said Taylor Hall, who had a goal and two assists. “We’ve been looking to win on home ice for a while now. This was a solid win. I think that’s what we had tonight. We had a solid start. We made some mistakes but the effort and purpose were there tonight. It’s a really good thing for us going forward. It’s a tough stretch of games. Playing a lot, we have to grind through these games and find ways to win.”

As Hall said, first and foremost, is the Devils played an inspired, 60-minute game against an opponent that had won the first two games of a six-game road trip with twin 5-2 victories at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“I thought tonight, that was something we had talked about in the morning, putting together a game that was about our team identity and how we want to play and trying to do that consistently throughout the game,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “I thought we did that tonight.”

NewJerseyDevils.com's Amanda Stein also weighed in with 10 observations:

8. The Devils played the first game of a back-to-back situation for the fifth time this season. The Devils will play a total of 16 back-to-backs during the 2017-18 season. New Jersey has posted a record 4-10 in first games of back-to-backs.

9. Hischier had a strong night playing 14:36, was a plus-2 and registered two shots on net. Hischier had been disappointed after the game against the Bruins for not burying his chances he felt he should have. On Friday night, Hischier picked up his 16th point of the season, an assist on Severson's goal.

10. The Devils are right back to work with a stop in Detroit on Saturday night, in the second half of a back-to-back. They return to The Rock Monday to host Florida.

According to Gross, the Devils dressed the following lineup against the Canucks:

Taylor Hall-Nico Hischier-Jesper Bratt

Adam Henrique-Travis Zajac-Drew Stafford

Pavel Zacha-Brian Boyle-Miles Wood

Brian Gibbons-Blake Coleman-Stefan Noesen

Andy Greene-Steven Santini

John Moore-Damon Severson

Will Butcher-Ben Lovejoy

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.

 

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