NEW YORK (AP) - Dominik Hasek flashed a smile and cracked some jokes even though he had just endured the worst period of an otherwise stellar season.
When your teammates bail you out with three goals in the third period, there is every reason to be happy. The 42-year-old Hasek gave up three goals on seven shots in a shaky first period, but Henrik Zetterberg capped the Red Wings' big finish by scoring the decisive goal late in Detroit's 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday night.
"What happened? All I can say is it was the worst period for me this year," said Hasek, tied for third in the NHL with a 2.08 goals-against average. "I feel like all three goals I should save.
"It actually was a 7 o'clock game. I thought it was starting at 7:30."
By the time the Red Wings rallied, Hasek had settled down and it was Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist's turn to be unsteady. He couldn't really be blamed for the winning goal, but the ones scored by Jiri Hudler and Robert Lang were hardly picture perfect.
Hasek made 13 saves over the final 40 minutes as Detroit won its fourth straight game and eighth in 11 contests.
"My teammates played great," Hasek said. "They scored four goals and we won the game. All I can say is I made some mistakes that I usually don't make."
Zetterberg got to a loose puck off the stick of Rangers forward Blair Betts in front of the New York net and quickly slammed in a shot to break a 3-all tie with 7:24 left.
The Red Wings will certainly want more trips to New York than the current schedule allows. Their last two road games have both been in the metropolitan area and featured big third periods in comeback victories.
Detroit, which hadn't played in Madison Square Garden since Oct. 25, 2003, erased a 3-0 deficit to the Islanders in the third period last Tuesday before winning in overtime.
"We haven't had a lot of come-from-behind wins this year," defenceman Mathieu Schneider said. "It's huge for a team when you feel like you can win no matter what the deficit is."
Zetterberg helped set up Pavel Datsyuk's first-period goal, and Hudler took advantage of Lundqvist's misplay early in the third to make it 3-2. Lang tied it at 10:54.
That made up for Hasek's poor early effort. He yielded goals to Brendan Shanahan, Michael Nylander and Marcel Hossa before 15 minutes elapsed. Hasek earned his 29th victory despite making only 17 saves. Lundqvist stopped 22 shots.
Shanahan, in his first game against the Red Wings since leaving as a free agent in the off-season, gave the Rangers the lead just 2:18 in on New York's second shot.
Nylander doubled the advantage 13 seconds later after Hasek flubbed the puck behind his net, and Hossa wrapped up the Rangers' most productive period in nearly a month at 14:24.
Lundqvist saved his meltdown until the end. He committed a costly turnover to Valtteri Filppula that turned into Hudler's ninth goal, then flubbed a soft, bouncing puck that Lang knocked in for the tying tally.
"It was one of those things that happened," Lundqvist said. "They took advantage. It was a tough break."
That put another crimp in the Rangers' fading playoff hopes. New York has dropped three straight, seven of 10 and 14 of 21, slipping to fourth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The loss, in the only NHL game Monday night, left the Rangers five points out of a playoff spot with 29 games left.
"There's lots of hockey left but we're digging ourselves a hole," Shanahan said.
And it could get deeper.
The Rangers have been looking for a centre to play with Shanahan all season, and they acquired noted agitator Sean Avery from the Los Angeles Kings before the game. But now they might have to play without leading scorer Jaromir Jagr, who injured a hip flexor and is questionable for Tuesday's game at New Jersey.
Shanahan, who had 309 goals in nine seasons with Detroit and ranks eighth in Red Wings history with 633 points, has rediscovered his early season scoring touch.
After tallying just one goal in 14 games, Shanahan has three in four contests. His shot from the right circle sailed over the right shoulder of Hasek, who gave just a cursory wave with his glove, for his team-leading 27th goal.
Hasek went behind the net on the next shift to chase Martin Straka's dump-in, but the puck caromed in front to Nylander, who backhanded a shot into the vacated net to make it 2-0.
Datsyuk cut Detroit's deficit in half at 7:24, but Hossa beat Hasek from nearly the same spot as Shanahan.
Notes: The Red Wings hadn't won at Madison Square Garden since March 17, 2002. ... The Rangers are 210-258-103-0 against Detroit, including 10-25-4-0 since 1986. ... Hasek has allowed three goals in five of six starts.