DETROIT -- You had to go back to Jan. 30, 1999, to find the last time the Rangers won at Joe Louis Arena.
But Derick Brassard scored on a breakaway with 13 seconds left in overtime and rookie goaltender Cam Talbot turned aside 32 shots in securing his first NHL win Saturday night as the Rangers beat the Red Wings, 3-2. That's the same score by which the Rangers beat Detroit in 1999, when Mike Richter faced 40 shots.
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With time winding down in overtime, Benoit Pouliot's extra effort to move the puck ahead to Brassard -- who had been denied on a breakaway earlier in the game when his rising shot glanced off Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard's shoulder -- typified the level of effort the Rangers put forth.
"He just put it in space for me and I only had to skate to it. The puck was kind of bouncing a little, so I closed my eyes and shot it," Brassard said. "The first one of the season is always the hardest to get. That's what I want to do for this team, produce offensively, and I haven't done it at the start of the season."
Pouliot, Mats Zuccarello and Brassard each scored his first goal of the season to close out a nine-game road odyssey on a high note.
Entering Monday night's home opener against Montreal, the record is not what the Rangers and coach Alain Vigneault wanted it to be, but "3-and-6 is a lot better than 2-and-7," defenseman Marc Staal said. "We've got a good feeling going, and we're finally going home, but we have to try to string a few wins together."
Down 1-0 in the first period and 2-1 entering the third, the Rangers, with a season-high 40 shots, battled back twice to tie the score before Brassard ended it.
Pouliot, one of the bodies who created traffic in front of Howard much of the evening, backhanded in a rebound late in the second period for the 1-1 tie.
"We showed a couple clips of Detroit doing it [creating traffic]. They've got that art down to a science, and hopefully we took a page out of their book," Vigneault said.
Talbot, 26, has allowed only four goals in two starts plus the overtime.
"I don't worry whether it was [Todd] Bertuzzi or [Pavel] Datsyuk or [Hank] Zetterberg, I just tried to play at the top of the crease and control rebounds, guys did a great job clearing out the rebounds I did leave," Talbot said. "Getting one point is great, but getting two points on the road is huge. It gives us a lot of confidence moving forward, coming into a building like this and beating a good team. I'm just trying to enjoy it as it lasts."
Zuccarello, whose mid-ice turnover triggered a two-on-one that led to Drew Miller's goal and a 1-0 Detroit lead at 17:12 of the first, dived for the puck and swept a rebound through Howard's legs to tie it at 2 at 2:18 of the third.
"I thought the second period [when the Rangers outshot the Wings 16-8] could've been our best period of the year," Vigneault said, "and we didn't let the power-play goal affect us."
That was when Taylor Pyatt was sent off for holding and Daniel Alfredsson's one-timer beat Talbot with 11 seconds left for a 2-1 lead. Said Vigneault, "We won the third period and overtime."
The game ended a tumultuous road trip that started out West and included blowouts at the hands of the Sharks and Ducks. The Rangers, who have played well defensively in the last three games, will be overjoyed to skate at home Monday.