Detroit − The Red Wings, just as they were Sunday, were in position to at least earn a point in the standings Thursday against the New York Rangers.
But this time, the Rangers wouldn’t allow it, changing the complexion of this game dramatically in short fashion.
Six third-period goals, only 10 minutes, 29 seconds apart, broke a tie and spurred the Rangers to an 8-2 victory.
Adam Fox (his fourth goal and third point of the game, 6:02), Barclay Goodrow (third goal, 7:23), Mika Zibanedjad (ninth goal and second of game, at 8:13), Julien Gauthier (second goal, 8:59), Libor Hajek (first goal, 12:47 and Jimmy Vesey (second goal, shorthanded, 16:31) scored the New York goals in quick fashion and erased what had actually been a close tight game.
Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (18 saves) made the lead stand, though Shesterkin was rarely severely tested.
Joe Veleno and Lucas Raymond had the Red Wings’ goals.
Chris Kreider (power play) added the other Rangers’ goal.
But it was Fox who ignited the Rangers third-period barrage, one-timing a puck that bounced off the sideboard to Fox, and beating goaltender Ville Husso (25 saves) from near the dot.
Goodrow then extended the lead to 4-2 just 1:21 later. Panarin had the puck in the corner and fired it to Goodrow in the slot, who patiently waited out Husso and slipped the puck past for his third goal.
From there, the Wings collapsed defensively and the Rangers (7-5-3) made the final score a romp.
The Red Wings (7-4-3) now embark on a four-game road trip, California (Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose) and winding up in Columbus next Saturday.
Veleno notched his second goal, tying the game 1-1 late in the first period, with Jonatan Berggren earning the primary assist in Berggren’s first NHL game.
Olli Maatta found Berggren near the side-boards, and Berggren patiently found Veleno skating the slot. Veleno snapped a shot past Shesterkin at 18:46, earning Berggren his first NHL point.
Zibanejad had given the Rangers a 1-0 lead just three minutes earlier.
Zibanejad won the draw and got the puck to Fox near the point. Fox found Zibanejad free near the hash-marks for a one-timer, which Zibanejad unleashed past Husso for Zibanejad’s eighth goal at 15:40.
Raymond broke the 1-1 tie in the second period with his sixth goal, all in the last seven games. Dylan Larkin intercepted a clearing attempt by K’Andre Miller and found Raymond in the slot, where Raymond snapped a quick shot past Shesterkin at 7:33.
But the Rangers answered on the power play.
Fox found Panarin near the dot, and Panarin fed Kreider with a deft pass near the post, Kreider redirecting the puck past Husso for his sixth goal at 10:54.
Coach Derek Lalonde saw plenty of the Rangers when Lalonde was an assistant on Tampa’s staff during last season’s Eastern Conference Final. Lalonde feels this Rangers roster, though having started sluggishly this season, will be competitive throughout the season.
“Depth over the whole makeup of their lineup,” said Lalonde of what makes the Rangers tough, speaking after Thursday’s morning skate. “They’re starting to find their game right now, but I wouldn’t be very worried about where they will end up. They’re a legit Cup contender. You can see the lineup throughout, how it’s built, it’s a real good team.”
Lalonde felt there might be a bit of an advantage having played the Rangers several days ago.
“Just a little on the familiarity, you get a feel for what they are and what they’re about,” Lalonde said. “I don’t know if there’s a whole lot to gain. I wouldn’t say we surprised them the other day with our effort, it helped us stay in that game when it could have gotten out of hand.”