DETROIT - The Rangers were exasperated. Their coach was curt. That was expected after an awful 3-2 loss to the Red Wings Saturday night in a game the Rangers had in hand.
They held a 2-0 lead deep into the second period before allowing two goals in a span of 61 seconds. Then they fell behind in the third and failed to tie the score despite being awarded two five-on-three power plays.
"That's a game we gave away," Dan Boyle said. "We were in control, then we give up two goals. If you give up a goal, you've got to find a way, the next guys who go out there, to stop the bleeding."
Coach Alain Vigneault didn't name names but cited "two very lazy backchecks" on the first two Red Wings goals -- the first by Derek Stepan and the second by Lee Stempniak -- before lamenting the two-man advantages of 47 seconds and 1:49 that came up empty.
"We had our top offensive players on the ice. They had an opportunity to make a statement," Vigneault said. "We might've hit a crossbar, a post, on different occasions, but at the end of the day, this game is about results, and we didn't get the results."
The loss dropped the Rangers to 11-10-4. In eight of their losses, including two shootout defeats, they have been unable to protect leads.
"We were playing a really good game," said Derick Brassard, recalling the first period, which featured a four-minute penalty kill and goals by Kevin Klein (his career-high fifth on a backhander in front) and Rick Nash (a breakaway, sprung by Brassard, for his 17th goal).
"Even in the second, we spend some time in their end, Klein's stick breaks on a slapper, they go the other way, 2-1. Now there's a game,'' Brassard said. "We knew they were going to push once, and it came in the last seven minutes of the second."
Riley Sheahan's backhander in front cut the lead in half at 14:14, firing up Joe Louis Arena. Then Drew Miller went through Matt Hunwick and pushed a one-hander to Cam Talbot, who couldn't secure the loose puck. Luke Glendening quickly buried it at 15:15.
"If I find it a little quicker, maybe they don't get that extra whack at it," said Talbot, who made 31 saves and had his shutout streak ended at 159:48. "It went off my pad, off my stick and just kind of laid there. I was looking down; I've gotta find that."
After Tomas Tatar's pass bounced off Brassard's stick, Darren Helm skated in and beat Talbot low on his glove side at 7:40 of the third to complete the rally for the Red Wings (16-6-5).
Brassard thought Tatar "was going to go high [over his stick], not on the ice. He kind of surprised me and went on the ice, and when I put my stick down, it deflected and helped the guy on the breakaway. Kinda lucky, but . . . "
The frustrated Rangers had no luck on the five-on-threes. "We got the looks we wanted," Stepan said. "Marty [St. Louis] hits the crossbar, Brass hits the pipe. But you have to score on the five-on-three."
Jimmy Howard (27 saves) stopped all 17 shots he faced in the final two periods. It was the Rangers' first loss in their last six games against Detroit, but it felt like just another agonizing defeat in a vexing season.