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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (But Mostly the Second Two): Wings 1, Rangers 4

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New York Rangers v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Guess who’s back? Back again? Brendan’s back. Tell your friends. Brendan’s back, Brendan’s back, Brendan’s back, Brendan’s back.

Brendan Smith returns to the Joe as a member of the Rangers. He’ll be playing in front of Antti Raanta, since Henrik Lundqvist will be out for 2-3 weeks.

Today’s game was moved from 12:30 to 7:00. That combined with losing an hour from Daylight Savings Time makes one hope that the team is ready to play at puck drop.

One player who won’t be ready to play at puck drop is Anthony Mantha, who is scratched for the second straight game.

First Period

Brendan Smith takes the first shot of the game, and Mrazek makes the save.

Five minutes in, and other than one chance from Larkin and Athanasiou, Detroit can’t get anything going.

The Wings top line had the best shift so far of the game for the team in red, keeping the puck in the Rangers zone long enough to get a few good scoring chances. The Helm line followed that up with a strong shift.

Neither goalie has been tested too much as we reach the 9 minute mark, but both have looked solid so far.

Brendan Smith nearly set up Rick Nash for the game’s first goal, but Mrazek stopped the Ranger forward. Smith has showed the positive side of his game so far, with no major mistakes. So far.

The Rangers nearly get on the board with just over 5 minutes left. Mrazek makes the save, and appears to be caught out of position after ending up sitting on his backside to make a save. Mrazek, however, recovers quickly, and the score remains 0-0.

Raanta looks like he robbed Nyquist of a goal, but his defender made an excellent play to tie up Goose before he could get the shot off. That top line is looking really good again.

I agree with Prashanth on this. It appears to be more than a coincidence at this point.

Athanasiou and Larkin get the crowd buzzing with an energetic shift. Larkin tried a turnaround shot, and Sheahan followed it up by trying to chip it past Raanta. Neither worked.

At this point, I won’t be surprised to see Riley Sheahan bite the puck and try to throw himself into the goal. Might be worth a shot.

Athanasiou splits the Ranger defensemen and it taken down, so the Wings go to the power play with just under 2 minutes left in the first.

Raanta misplays the puck behind his net, which has happened a few times so far. Something for Detroit to try to exploit.

Hey, so this is cool. The Rangers score on a shorthanded 3 on 1.

That’s not a typo. A 3 on 1. Shorthanded.

Hayes looked like he scored five-hold on Mrazek, but Ryan McDonagh got his stick on it to deflect it in, so he will get the Rangers 9th shorthanded goal of the year.

Just before the above clip starts, the Wings had 4 players below the Rangers goal line.

The Red Wings give up their eleventy billionth shorthanded goal of the year, although you might want to double check that stat. It sounds right, though.

The period ends with the score 1-0. To make things worse, during the intermission we get to hear Roenick and Milbury.

Despite the pain, I have found the gif that most resembles the Red Wings power play this year:

Second Period

Mike Green continues to have a poor game. He certainly wasn’t solely responsible for the goal in the first period, but he allowed McDonagh to tap in the puck when it looked like Green was back in time to prevent that. He’s had some bad unforced giveaways as well.

Larkin draws a penalty on Marc Staal, when the Ranger gets his hand/arm up into Larkin’s face on an intended hit.

Wait, what? We scored on the power play? I didn’t think that was allowed.

Nielsen rips a shot past Raanta to cap off some nice puck movement. Nyquist and Abdelkader with the assists. This power play shows why fans have been so frustrated this year. The team has the talent to make plays like this. Just watch the passing below:

Tie game. 1-1.

Larkin’s speed turns a normal breakout into a momentary 2 on 1, but the backchecking Rangers keep his centering pass from getting through to Nielsen.

Nyquist should be credited for his backchecking on an odd-man rush shortly before that.

Tatar, Zetterberg, and Nyquist nearly combined for one of the year’s prettiest goals, but the last pass was one too many.

Dylan Larkin takes a high-sticking penalty behind the play, and the Rangers go to the power play. Easily could have been a four on four here, as it looked like both players were guilty.

Nielsen gets a good shorthanded chance, but other than that, the power play ends with the score still tied.

McDonagh makes it 2-1 with 3 minutes left in the period. The puck deflects to Mrazek’s right and off the boards behind the net. Neither Mrazek nor his teammates can clear the puck, and McDonagh scores his second goal of the game from a few feet away.

Kronwall makes a terrible pass to give the puck away.

Before I even had time to type the above paragraph Kevin Hayes makes it 3-1, finishing off a set up from J.T. Miller.

The period ends 3-1 Rangers.

The Red Wings played a decent period, if you don’t count the last few minutes. That was like this:

Third Period

Brendan Smith takes a penalty to start off the third. He tried to bat the puck out of the air and clear the zone, but it went over the glass for a delay of game penalty.

After killing off the penalty, Derek Stepan high sticks Green in the face, so Detroit goes back to the power play. The Red Wings had good zone time in the first half of the man advantage, but the Rangers did a good job keeping them to the outside.

Nothing doing on the rest of the power play, and the fans let the players hear their dissatisfaction.

Robbie Russo keeps the score 3-1 as he clears the puck from the crease after a Hayes shot snuck through Mrazek and looked to be possibly heading in.

Athanasiou nearly topped his goal from the Pittsburgh game in January but his through-the-legs shot was kept out by Raanta.

Remember earlier in the recap when I said that Sheahan should try to bite the puck and throw himself into the net? Montreal heard me, and is giving the strategy a test run:

For one shift at least, Sheahan appears to have been replaced by Callahan on the Larkin and Athanasiou line.

I will laugh so hard if Callahan scores on that line.

With five minutes left, Larkin takes a penalty, and the Red Wings comeback is delayed by another two minutes.

Derek Stepan makes it 4-1 on the power play. He found himself all alone. Mrazek didn’t have much help, but he looked awkward on this one.

The horn brings a merciful end to a game that was OK up until the last few minutes of the second period.

Blashill will have his pick of players to sit next game to bring Anthony Mantha back into the lineup. Mantha is going to play the next game, right?

Right?

I need a laugh after that game, so here’s this: