Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist after missing 19 games with a broken right wrist, helping the Detroit Red Wings beat the reeling Blueshirts 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena.
"We know how good he is offensively and defensively, so it gives our team a boost to have a world-class player like him back," teammate Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It didn't look like he had missed 19 games.
"He makes things happen with the puck and when the other team has it, he never gives up. He'll work hard to get it back and that's why he leads the league in takeaways every year."
Brandon Dubinsky scored with 4:05 left in the game to pull the Rangers within a goal. They failed to tie the game despite having a two-man advantage for 44 seconds late in the third and being on the power play to end the game.
Datsyuk's second-period goal allowed Detroit to avoid getting shut out in three straight games for the first time in franchise history.
"I need more games, for sure," Datsyuk said. "And, maybe more work out off ice."
Detroit's Jimmy Howard stopped the first 32 shots he faced and finished with 45 saves.
"I thought Howie was good, which is real important for us," coach Mike Babcock said.
Detroit snapped out of a scoreless funk by scoring three times after getting blanked in back-to-back games.
"You don't want to be a part of that stuff," said Drew Miller, whose goal ended up being the game-winning score. "We weren't too worried about that."
The Rangers haven't won in regulation since beating Toronto on Jan. 19 and are mired in their worst slump of the year, going winless in five games.
"This is our first major bump in the road," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "We've got to just stick with it."
New York's Derek Stepan tied the game 1-all at the 3:09 mark of the final period and Jiri Hudler, with an assist from Datsyuk, put the Red Wings back ahead a couple minutes later.
Miller seemed to seal an easy victory when he scored with 5:23 left in the game, but Dubinsky scored about a minute later.
Former Red Wing Sean Avery drew two high-sticking penalties late in the game, getting hit in the face both times, but the Rangers couldn't take advantage of the opportunity to make it 3-all and force overtime.