Ryan McDonagh scored twice as the New York Rangers rebounded to humble the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Sunday in their final appearance at Joe Louis Arena. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
DETROIT -- The road warriors of the NHL didn't take long to get their show back on track.
Coming off a heartbreaking loss Thursday at Carolina, the New York Rangers rebounded to humble the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Sunday in their final appearance at Joe Louis Arena.
"It's good for us to respond in a good fashion after losing in a tough way in Carolina," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said.
McDonagh scored twice, opening the scoring with a shorthanded goal and netting the eventual game-winner in the second period. New York defensemen have scored 10 goals in the past 15 games.
Kevin Hayes added a goal and an assist and Derek Stepan scored for the first time in 24 games for the Rangers.
Frans Nielsen scored the lone goal for the Red Wings.
New York has won an NHL-leading 25 road games this season and the Rangers have not lost consecutive road games since Dec. 1-6.
"I just like the fact that everybody contributed and we were pretty solid all around on the special teams," McDonagh said.
Special teams got New York rolling.
Detroit's NHL-worst power play went to work with 1:43 to go in the opening frame but it was the Rangers who took advantage of the situation. Rushing down ice on a 3-on-1 break, Hayes drove an open lane to the Red Wings' net and his backhand shot was tipped home by McDonagh to put New York ahead with just 27 seconds to play in the period.
Detroit has allowed eight shorthanded goals this season. Only Philadelphia (nine) and Dallas (10) have permitted more.
"We've got to take care of the puck better," Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet said. "We had the puck on our tape and all of a sudden turn around and it's a 3-on-1. So I think we've got to be better with the puck and making better decisions."
Even though they were down a man, as the play developed, McDonagh had no qualms about joining the rush.
"I just knew that we probably had a few guys caught because the play started from below the goal line," McDonagh said. "It was a good job by (Michael) Grabner to give me somebody to pass it to and when the puck's in Hayesies' hands, he's so patient.
"He finds a way to either get the pass across or get something on net. I just kept my stick down the whole way and just got a piece of it."
After Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was called for elbowing 4:52 into the second period, Detroit got another chance with the man advantage and this time made no mistake.
A quick three-way passing play among Justin Abdelkader, Gus Nyquist and Nielsen culminated with Nielsen beating Antti Raanta for his 14th goal of the season at 5:35.
The Rangers reclaimed the lead at 16:50 of the second period. Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek stopped Staal's shot but McDonagh whipped the rebound home.
Just 27 seconds later, New York increased its lead. J.T. Miller found a wide-open Hayes on the edge of the Detroit goal crease, and Hayes shoveled the puck into the net for his 17th goal.
"I thought they got some timely goals, especially there in the second," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I thought we played pretty decent, matched up pretty good against them."
Zetterberg shouldered the blame for the second-period meltdown.
"I made some boneheaded plays there in the second, turned the puck over a few times," Zetterberg said. "They got full momentum out of that and scored two goals."
Stepan completed the scoring on a third-period power play, his first goal since Jan. 17 against Dallas.
"I tried to lean on as many people as I could -- coaching staff, I even got to the point where I called (former Ranger) Marty St. Louis," Stepan said of his slump. "When Marty first came to New York, he went 15 games (without a goal) and he said it felt like a year.
"I just reached out to those guys, talked to them and tried to keep my mind in the right place. I'm glad it went in."
-- For the second straight game, the Wings saw a former teammate who was recently traded away, Rangers D Brendan Smith. Friday, they faced Chicago F Tomas Jurco.
-- Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg will match Norm Ullman (324) for sixth on the Wings' all-time goal list with his next tally.
-- Red Wings rookie forward and 14-goal scorer Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. D Ryan Sproul (knee) was also scratched. D Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) is on IRL.
-- The Rangers and Metropolitan Division rivals the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only three NHL teams to score at least four goals in 30 or more games this season.
-- Rangers scratches were G Henrik Lundqvist (hip), Ds Adam Clendening and Kevin Klein (back spasms) and Fs Matt Puempel and Brandon Pirri. D Dan Girardi (ankle) and F Jesper Fast (upper body) are on IRL.