Rangers lose, winless streak reaches five
DETROIT - Give the Rangers an "F" - not for their effort, by any means, but for "frustration."
After being shut out by Montreal Saturday, the Rangers scored twice in the third period Monday night and fired 47 shots at goalie Jimmy Howard but could not earn even a point in a 3-2 loss to the Red Wings.
They are winless (0-4-1) in their last five games and visit Atlanta, a competitor for a playoff spot, on Friday.
Derek Stepan ended a scoreless streak of more than 120 minutes at 3:09 of the third period to tie the score at 1, but the Rangers let their smidgen of success slip away very quickly.
After a turnover by Michael Sauer along the right boards in the Rangers' zone, the Red Wings strung together three passes - a backhander between the legs of Jiri Hudler to Pavel Datsyuk, who fed Jonathan Ericsson on the left side, who sent a cross-ice dart that found Hudler going to the net. Hudler chipped the puck over the sliding Martin Biron at 5:04 for a 2-1 Detroit lead.
Biron, who made 32 saves in his second consecutive start, surrendered a third goal when Justin Abdelkader's shot went off his left shoulder and dropped in front for Drew Miller, battling with Matt Gilroy. That extended the Red Wings' lead to 3-1 at 14:37.
"They're the type of team, when we miss a coverage after we score a huge goal, they capitalize," coach John Tortorella said. "I'm not worried about the team as far as their work habits. I know we have a good team. This is our first really major bump in the road. Every team goes through it. You just stay with it."
Brandon Dubinsky, who Tortorella said "fought with his reads all night," pulled the Rangers within a goal when he scored off a two-on-one with Sean Avery at 15:55.
Avery, who had six shots and played a very strong game, was clipped in the face by Ericsson for the Rangers' third power play with 3:40 left. When Justin Abdelkader also caught Avery high, there was a five-on-three for 44 seconds, and Tortorella pulled Biron with 1:13 left, giving the Rangers a fourth power play through the end of regulation. But the Rangers had only a shot that went wide and a shot that was blocked in the last 3:40.
"Fifty shots, whatever," said Avery, who needed four stitches in his upper lip. "I think the frustration level should be on all of us."
The game was scoreless in the second, but Datsyuk, in his first game back from a broken wrist suffered Dec. 22, raced behind the net into the left corner and pickpocketed Brian Boyle, who appeared to be playing through a sore back. Dan Cleary backhanded the puck in front to Hudler as Datsyuk cut to the net, and he popped in Hudler's rebound at 2:52.
It was the 13th goal for Datsyuk, who had 39 points in 33 games before the injury.
Biron, who has seen his share of slumps, said things can turn quickly. "You get a win and all of a sudden it feels like everything you're doing is working,'' he said. "There's not one thing. Everybody says the clichés - 'You get an ugly goal, this, that' - but a great game, a win, and everything after that, every pass, every tip play works, every power play works . . . "