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Rangers fall in overtime to Red Wings in a defensive and goalie showdown

Bobby Bevilacqua

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The Rangers dropped an extremely competitive game to the Red Wings, losing in overtime but gaining a point in the standings. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Whenever the Rangers (39-17-7) and the Red Wings (36-15-11) face off, they always tend to be very close and exciting games. That was the case tonight, as both teams dueled all the way to overtime, with the Red Wings eventually coming away with a 2-1 victory.

The Rangers earned a point in the game, which ties them with the Islanders in points, but puts the Blueshirts in first place. The Rangers have two games in hand on the Isles, and they play tomorrow night.

While both teams had their fair share of chances, defense and goaltending was the name of the game. Despite the very tight checking, the Rangers managed to get 40 shots on goal, with Detroit firing 31 shots at Cam Talbot. After the game, the Rangers players said that they didn’t get enough traffic in front of Howard to jump on second and third opportunities.

Jimmy Howard was phenomenal. He made a lot of really impressive saves, and timely stops in the late stages of that game that prevented the Rangers from taking the lead. When healthy, Howard is an elite goalie, and really doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves.

On the other end of the ice, Cam Talbot was tremendous as well, making some flashy saves and effectively battling against Howard. Talbot flashed the glove and kicked out the pads all night, but came up on the short end of the stick.

The Rangers defense was extremely strong tonight. All six had relatively strong games, but boy oh boy did Marc Staal have another tremendous game. Despite what most people may say, Marc Staal has been the Rangers best defenseman this season by a longshot. He’s shouldering a lot of the defensive load, on the penalty kill and at even strength, and is the shutdown defenseman on the team. Lately, he has found his offensive game as well, and is the most important member of the Rangers back end.

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Marc Staal had a fantastic game, locking down his own zone and providing a nice spark on offense. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

The first period began with a very tight checking game. There was not a lot of space on the ice for either team to make plays, with both team’s defensive units disrupting the passing and shooting lanes. The ice began to open up, and the Red Wings struck first.

Ryan McDonagh gave the puck up along the boards. Jonathan Ericsson whiffed on a shot at the blue line, but it trickled down to Henrik Zetterberg. He backhanded a pass to Justin Abdelkader, and it wen’t off of his skate and past Talbot. It looked like there could have been a kicking motion, but the goal stood, and the Red Wings had a 1-0 lead.

One of Talbot’s best saves of the game came on Tomas Jurco, kicking out his right pad to deny Jurco twice on the doorstep. Shortly after that, the fourth line, with James Sheppard making his Rangers debut, won a few battles against the board, and Jesper Fast eventually drew a holding penalty, giving the Rangers their second power play opportunity of the game.

Dan Girardi wound up scoring his third goal of the season on the man advantage. Following a slap shot, Mats Zuccarello dove for the puck the keep it in play. Rick Nash got it, firing it on net, where it tipped off of Derick Brassard. Dan Girardi dove and tapped it past Howard, tying the game at one.

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Dan Girardi scored the Rangers only goal on a tremendous second effort to poke the puck past Jimmy Howard. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

 

Neither team would score for the next two periods, but both teams came close to scoring on a few occasions. In the second period, Jimmy Howard made a pad save on Mats Zuccarello’s deflection, and Marc Staal fired a wrister off of the post after a nifty little move.

Talbot made some huge saves of his own, making a pad save through a seas of people early in the third period, and then making an incredible glove save on Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk’s backhander deflected off of Dan Girardi’s stick, and Talbot managed to reach back while he was moving the other way and keeping the puck out of the net.

Later in the period, both teams took coincidental minor penalties, and four on four hockey. Derek Stepan then took a holding penalty, which was really just Gustav Nyqvist pinning Stepan’s arm against his body. With 11 second left, Talbot robbed Niklas Kronwall’s one timer with a glove save.

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Cam Talbot outdid himself with tonight’s performance, making quite a few highlight reel saves and sending the game to overtime. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

In overtime, Cam Talbot continued to stand tall, stopping Datsyuk in close. However, Marek Zidlicky, making his debut with Detroit, chipped the puck off of Ryan McDonagh and over Cam Talbot, giving Detroit the 2-1 win.

Zidlicky is the first player to score in overtime while making his Red Wings debut since the five minute format was adopted in the 1983-84 season.

The game really came down to a few lucky bounces on Detroit’s end. A puck off of a skate, a puck off of McDonagh, and it equals a loss. It happens, and it just wasn’t their game. It’s a good thing Cam Talbot was exceptional in net and brought the game into overtime.

The two best lines for the Rangers was easily the Brassard line and the Hayes line. Brassard, Nash, and Zuccarello flat out dominated, totally controlling possession when they were on the ice. The Hayes line was also really effective, but neither could finish on their chances.

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Rick Nash had a strong game, nearly scoring on a few occasions, and dominating play alongside Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

 

What I’ve noticed with Yandle the past two games is that he doesn’t spend a lot of time in his own zone. And it isn’t because of the way Vigneault uses him, it’s just the fact that he moves the puck around without a problem, and keeps it in the other end. When Yandle and Dan Boyle were on the ice together, it was just unfair offensively. That duo makes for an incredible puck possession pairing.

Next game, the Blueshirts will need to do exactly what they said; get back to the dirty areas of the ice and capitalize on the second and third chances.

The Rangers have three days off, and will take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday to continue their road trip.

THREE STARS

1) Cam Talbot – 29 SV, .935 SV%

2) Marc Staal – 5 SOG, 2 BS, 19:19 TOT

3) Rick Nash – 1 A, 7 SOG

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Posted on March 5, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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