Once it came, New York took full advantage and snapped a long
losing streak against its Western Conference nemesis.
Petr Nedved jumped on a loose puck to score in the first period
of the Rangers' 3-1 victory Saturday night that ended a four-year
slide against the Red Wings.
Bobby Holik and Mark Messier also scored for the Rangers, who
had lost seven straight games to the Red Wings since their last win
over Detroit on Oct. 30, 1999. The drought was even longer at
Madison Square Garden as Detroit had won seven in a row there,
dating to March 1997.
"We knew they played last night and that Steve Yzerman wasn't
going to be in the lineup," said Rangers goalie Mike Dunham, sharp
again in making 23 saves. "We wanted to make them have to go
through us the length of the ice."
The Rangers are in the midst of a six-game homestand, their
longest of the season, and just came off their second four-day
break of the young season.
They had the jump, and Detroit didn't.
"It's not ideal to be playing catch-up hockey, especially when
it's your third game in four nights," Red Wings forward Brendan Shanahan said.
Messier sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 19 seconds
Hasek made 29 saves one night after his 62nd career shutout. He
got testy late after he was barreled over onto his back in the
crease by Holik. Hasek got up and pointed at Holik, who had skated
"He hit me from behind," Hasek said. "I don't know if it was
with a knee or a stick. The puck was already in the corner. I don't
know why he hit me. He could easily avoid me."
Holik didn't notice the pointing, nor did he seem to care.
"I try to avoid him at all costs," he said with a smile.
Mathieu Schneider scored for the Red Wings.
Nedved gave the Rangers the lead by taking advantage of a mix-up
in front of the Red Wings net. Alexei Kovalev dumped the puck in the
zone, and it caromed off the end boards. Hasek and his defenseman
Nicklas Lidstrom let the puck lie between them as Nedved streaked
in and scored 13:42 into the game.
"The first goal was a misunderstanding between my defense and
myself. I can blame myself for the second goal," Hasek said.
New York made it 2-0 6:49 into the second when Holik worked a
give-and-go with Chris Simon, taking the return pass and scoring
between Hasek's pads.
Moments earlier, 42-year-old Messier skated in alone on 38-year-old Hasek, who rushed out of the circle to greet him. Messier was forced to skate around Hasek and lost his balance as he shot wide of the vacated net.
The Rangers went 0-for-3 on the power play and are still the
only NHL team not to cash in with the man advantage this season,
failing on 26 chances.
Schneider needed only 19 seconds of a power play to cut
Detroit's deficit in half with 6:41 left in the second. After
Lidstrom came into the zone, just onside, Tomas Holmstrom got a
pass back to Schneider, who sent a skipping puck from just inside
the blue line between Dunham's pads.
Detroit was without 38-year-old captain Yzerman, who sat out the
second of back-to-back games. Yzerman, missed most of last season
after major knee surgery and is taking all precautions.
He scored twice in the Red Wings' 4-0 victory over Dallas on
Friday, his first two-goal game in nearly two years. Hasek posted
his first shutout since returning from his one-year retirement.
The back-to-back games are something Hasek is looking forward to.
"If I stay healthy, it shouldn't be a problem," he said. "I
feel I need to play these games."
He looked as though he'd never left early in the third period when
Messier led a rush with Simon. Messier made a back pass, allowing
Simon to break through between two defenders. But his shot was
stopped by the left shoulder of Hasek, who then made his signature
flop onto his back.
The Red Wings have allowed only two power-play goals but
had scored short-handed goals in four straight games before
Saturday. ... Pascal Rheaume made his Rangers debut at center in
place of injured Eric Lindros, out two to four weeks with a chest
injury. ... Hasek is 15-11-6 against New York with five shutouts.
... Dunham has allowed four goals during the homestand. ... Detroit
RW Darren McCarty hurt his right big toe.