The New York Rangers earned themselves a very important two points after defeating the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 Sunday afternoon. The Wings have some tough customers on their roster – Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall come to mind – but the Rangers were able to out-muscle the Red Wings all game in the dirty areas to get the victory.
Brian Boyle scored the first goal for the Rangers on a broken play, but there was still no reason for him to be left alone in the slot. The puck squirted to him after John Moore‘s stick broke on an attempted shot, and Detroit’s Doakin Andersson‘s lazy-back check allowed Boyle to bury the loose puck.
Had someone stepped up and hit Moore, as opposed to stick-checking him, the play never happens. It was a 3-on-3 entering the zone and you could see the Wings swinging their sticks with no interest in making a physical, defensive stand.
The Rangers’ second goal was also due to lack of punishment in front of the Red Wings’ cage. Chris Kreider might be 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, but he has to be contested if he’s going to try to screen Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. Just 14 seconds into the third period, Kreider was left alone in front and deflected a Ryan Mcdonagh shot from the point over the left shoulder of Howard, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
From there, the Red Wings never really could sustain any pressure on the Rangers in the offensive zone. It’s not like the Rangers completely dominated this game – far from it – but the Wings failed to get bodies in front of Henrik Lundqvist all night and were halted from crashing the net. They had nine shots come from their defenseman, and it was usually one and done. Especially in the third period, the Rangers were able to corral rebounds too easily and start their breakout without a real scoring threat from Detroit.
The final shot count ended 31-30 in favor of New York, but the Red Wings had few high-percentage scoring chances all game.
New York’s third goal also came from Kreider, who received a cross-ice pass from Derek Stepan on a 2-0n-1 and went middle bar on Howard, who was way out of position.
The Red Wings are dealing with a lot of injuries currently, and they need to understand that they aren’t going to score a lot of pretty goals. Their best chance at beating teams is mucking and grinding in the corners and not being afraid to crash the net every chance they have. They need to start winning the 1-on-1 battles if they want to be successful.
On Sunday, they looked timid and uninterested, which led to a Rangers victory.
Lundqvist’s shutout on Sunday was the 49th of his career, tying him with Eddie Giacomin for the Rangers’ franchise record.
Shane Darrow is an NHL writer for Rant Sports; Feel free to follow him on Twitter @ShaneDarrow.