Coach Jeff Blashill on the Red Wings' work ethic, compete level The Detroit News
Detroit — Nothing much has been going right for the Red Wings, and that was further accentuated after Thursday's morning skate.
Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters the team would be without Dylan Larkin (back) and Mike Green (virus) for the game against the New York Rangers — and in Green's case, for the rest of the season.
But even with two key players out, and winless in eight games, the Wings showed some pride, gutting out a 3-2, shootout victory.
Andreas Athanasiou scored the lone shootout goal by either team, clinching the victory. Goaltender Jimmy Howard, as he often does against the Rangers, was stellar with 32 saves, including stopping all Rangers in the shootout.
“Everybody has to do a good job stepping up and tonight we all did that,” Athanasiou said of not having two keys players in the lineup. “For me personally, I like to take on some of that responsibility.”
In some ways, the Wings hit rock bottom last week in an ugly 8-1 loss against Montreal and have been trying to climb back from that disaster since.
They climbed a little higher with this victory.
“We worked,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We talked about that after the Montreal game, what this city is about. You don’t win every night but if you work you can hold your head high.
“We worked and competed and that was a good part of it, for sure.”
Athanasiou, taking Larkin's place on the top line, scored his 23rd goal at 6:15 of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie.
Moments after goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped Brett Howden on a 2-on-1 Rangers rush — the teams were playing four men aside after offsetting penalties — Athanasiou raced on a 2-on-1 rush and buried a shot past goalie Henrik Lundqvist from the dot.
After scoring, Athanasiou tapped the No. 7 on his jersey, a number all the Wings wore Thursday to honor Ted Lindsay.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard on the Wings' 3-2 shootout victory over the Rangers The Detroit News
The Wings honored Lindsay with a moment of silence before the game and a video tribute in the first period. There will be a public visitation Friday at Little Caesars Arena.
“All in all a good night for us and good tribute game (for Lindsay),” Athanasiou said.
The Rangers answered after Athanasiou’s goal when Pavel Buchnevich got behind the Wings defense at 14:29 and backhanded a shot over Howard on the breakaway. It was Buchnevich’s second goal of the game and 15th of the season, tying the score.
The two veteran goaltenders usually put on a show when these teams face each other and were impressive again Thursday, despite both teams having lackluster seasons
Lundqvist made 43 saves, including two big stops on Athanasiou late in regulation and overtime, while Howard stopped 32 shots.
Howard improved to 9-3-3 in his career against the Rangers.
“I don’t know what it is,” Howard said of his dominance over the Rangers. “It’s been like that since Day 1.”
While the Wings (24-33-10) saw their winless streak end, the Rangers (27-28-12) saw their winless streak reach six games.
“We took a real step in the right direction against Colorado (Tuesday) and we carried that forward tonight,” Blashill said. “We were much better. I liked our attack, we were on our toes, and we hounded the puck. We were in the offensive zone a lot.
“It was a good game for us.”
Tyler Bertuzzi and Buchnevich traded goals in the opening 40 minutes.
Bertuzzi tied the score at 1 with his 16th goal.
Madison Bowey lifted a shot from the high slot that Bertuzzi redirected, with the puck slipping through the legs of Lundqvist at 5:46 of the second period.