Red Wings take Rangers into OT, but ex-Wolverine Copp scores winner

Detroit News

Detroit — The Red Wings were better, but that much needed victory proved elusive.

After getting embarrassed over the weekend in Pittsburgh, and with rumors about coach Jeff Blashill’s job security building, the Wings came out Wednesday and took the New York Rangers into overtime before losing 5-4.

Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor/Michigan) converted a two-on-one rush with Artemi Panarin giving the Rangers the victory at 1 minute 34 seconds of overtime.

The Rangers tied the game 4-4 on Chris Kreider’s 46th goal of the season, on the power play, at 16:22.

Kreider got a pass near the goal line and snapped a shot that bounded off the skate of Moritz Seider and past goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.

Adam Erne had broken a 3-3 tie in the third period, but it was a lead the Wings couldn’t keep.

Erne inadvertently blocked a shot from Marc Staal near the hashmarks. Erne gathered the puck, skated into the slot, and backhanded a shot through a maze in front of Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev at 5:56 of the third period.

It was only Erne’s fifth goal and ended a 24-game goal-scoring drought for Erne.

Nedeljkovic stopped 29 shots in defeat.

The Red Wings (26-32-9) saw their winless streak extend to four games.

MIchael Rasmussen, Jakub Vrana (power play) and Tyler Bertuzzi (power play) added Wings goals.

Ryan Reaves, Filip Chytil, and Artemi Panarin answered with Rangers (44-19-5) goals.

Bertuzzi gave the Wings a 3-2 lead to open the second period with his 26th goal.

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Moritz Seider fed Bertuzzi in the high slot, and Bertuzzi’ slap shot beat goalie Georgiev  just 29 seconds into the period.

But the Rangers answered later in the period with Panarin’s 18th goal.

Frank Vatrano got possession of the puck behind the net, and found Panarin racing toward the net. Panarin fired top corner past Nedelkovic at 12:15, tying the game at 3.

The Wings averted trouble late in the period with the Rangers on the power play. Panarin had a chance for a one-timer from the dot, but mishandled a pass.

The Wings came into the game with a lot of negative energy given the ugly loss in Pittsburgh.

But many Wings felt this was an excellent chance to overcome adversity and become a stronger team mentally in the long run.

“We need to go through stretches like this,” forward Sam Gagner said. “It wears on guys, and you need to find ways to build your confidence back up and keep pushing for something. That’s where our mindset has to be. I felt for a lot of this year, we’ve done that. We have to find it again.”

The Rangers entered the game in the thick of the Metropolitan Division race, and of an impressive 3-2 victory Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

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The additions of forwards Copp and Tyler Motte addressed depth in the bottom-six forwards, and the goaltending of Igor Shesterkin this season has carried the Ranges.

“The additions they made probably addressed the area they needed, depth up front,” said coach Jeff Blashill after the morning skate. “They have some real high end lines, any line with Panarin on it is going to be a great line, and (Mika) Zianejad and (Chris) Kreider are having great season.

“Copp is a great player in my mind, a real good player. So now, that gives you two real good lines but also more depth in their lineup and makes them more formidable in the playoffs.”

The Wings didn’t see Shesterkin Wednesday, and it’s probably fortunate they did not.

Shesterkin is 32-9-3 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .894 save percentage, and is a leading contender for the Vezina Trophy (best goalie), but also is beginning to get support for the Hart Tropy as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

“They have a real good team, and I wouldn’t want to downgrade their team, but he’s outstanding,” Blashill said. “I don’t know why goalies wouldn’t be part of the MVP conversation. I know there is a different trophy (for goalies) but there are for other players, too. I would just say he’s had a huge impact on their team, he’s an excellent goalie, one of the very best in the league.”

Twitter: @tkulfan

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