No one said rebuilding would be pleasant.
Hours after trading Rick Nash, the Rangers experienced a different sort of heartbreak Sunday, losing to the Red Wings, 3-2, in overtime at the Garden.
Trevor Daley deflected a shot by former Islander Frans Nielsen past Henrik Lundqvist with 5.6 seconds left in overtime to hand the Rangers their seventh straight loss.
We just can’t catch a break,” said Lundqvist, who had 31 saves. “It’s about finding ways to win games, and we’re not doing that . . . We have to try harder.”
Jesper Fast’s top-shelf wrister with 8:44 left tied it at 2 for the Rangers. Ryan Spooner, one of the acquisitions in the Nash trade, had two assists. The Rangers had 19 shots in a feverish third period.
Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard had 36 saves, including a nearly incomprehensible reaching glove save on a shot by Chris Kreider, whose one-timer in front looked to be a sure goal early in the game.
With seven seconds left in the first, the Red Wings opened the scoring. Andreas Athanasiou scored his 12th of the season when he wristed a shot between defenseman Rob O’Gara’s legs and past Lundqvist.
The Red Wings made it 2-0 at 4:31 of the second period. Rangers defenseman John Gilmour lost the puck and then fell near center ice, and Darren Helm scored on a breakaway.
J.T. Miller cut the Red Wings’ lead in half 3:20 later with a slap shot that went off the far post and in with four seconds left on a power play. Spooner had the primary assist.
“He’s definitely a talented player that can do a lot of things for you,” general manager Jeff Gorton said of Spooner. “His point production over his career has been really solid. On a really good team with a lot of good players — tonight, he’s going to get an opportunity to play, and he’ll probably play more than he’s played in a while.”