The New York Rangers are heading home with smiles on their faces.
Derick Brassard's breakaway goal with 12.9 seconds left in overtime gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night in the finale of a nine-game season-opening road trip.
It was New York's first victory at Joe Louis Arena since Jan. 30, 1999 and gave the Rangers a 3-6-0 record on marathon trip, one that was necessitated by the completion of the remodeling of Madison Square Garden. The Rangers play their home opener Monday against the Montreal Canadiens.
"It's going to be good for us. It's been a challenge," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We don't have the record we want, but we made some strides in the right direction."
New York dominated play for much of the night but appeared to be headed for a shootout before Benoit Pouliot dove and swatted the puck to Brassard as he streaked into the Detroit zone. Brassard raced down the slot and fired a shot past goaltender Jimmy Howard for the win.
"I only had to scoop up the puck. It was kind of bouncing, so I just closed my eyes and shot," Brassard said.
Obviously, the Rangers are eager to get home.
"As a player, it gives you so much energy on the ice. You play with more emotion," Brassard said of playing before a home crowd. "We want to get back and see our fans."
Rookie goaltender Cam Talbot made 32 saves for his first NHL victory. Talbot played for the second straight game while Henrik Lundqvist deals with an undisclosed injury.
"I'm on a pretty big high right now," Talbot said. "When the referee signaled that it was a goal, I just took off down there to join the pile and celebrate."
Howard made 37 saves for Detroit, which is 0-2-2 in its past four games.
“Something has to be done about it,” Howard said. “It’s just believing in each other and not trying to do too much, let guys do their jobs. It’s frustrating. We lost with 12 seconds left in overtime. Once again we didn’t really play 60 minutes and lost.”
The Rangers, who were 0-5-1 in their past six visits to Detroit, trailed 2-1 after two periods but needed just 2:18 of the third to get even. Marc Staal stepped into a slap shot from the left point that Howard stopped but kicked back into the slot. Mats Zuccarello grabbed the rebound and fired it into the net before Howard could recover for his first goal of the season.
The Rangers got the first good chance of a free-flowing first period when Chris Kreider found himself alone in front 5:10 into the game, only to have Howard deny his backhander with a right-pad save.
New York killed off a pair of Detroit power plays before the Red Wings grabbed the lead at 17:12 on Miller's first goal of the season. Miller picked up an errant pass by Zuccarello in his own zone, raced up the left wing with both defensemen caught up ice and fired a perfect wrist shot from just inside the left faceoff dot, beating Talbot over the pad.
The Rangers had several excellent chances in the early minutes of the second period, but Howard was equal to each one. He robbed Ryan McDonagh from just outside the left post 4:44 into the period, he used his blocker to deny Brian Boyle's wrister on his own rebound just before the eight-minute mark and got his pad on a deflection by Zuccarello two minutes later.
“Howie was great,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “He gave us a chance, especially in the second period.”
The Rangers finally got a puck past Howard and tied the game at 17:20. With Kyle Quincey off for interference, Pouliot controlled the puck just to the right of Howard and was able to flip it into the net for his first of the season.
But the tie didn't last long, as Detroit capitalized on a power play of its own to regain the lead with 11 seconds left in the period. Taylor Pyatt went off for holding at 18:32, and Daniel Alfredsson made New York pay when he drifted into some open space in the slot, took a pass from Pavel Datsyuk and one-timed a shot inside the far post for his second of the season.
However, the Rangers found a way to win when trailing after two periods for the first time this season.
"We wanted to play well on the last game of the road trip," Brassard said. "We went all out for 60 minutes, and I think we deserve it. We found a way to win tonight, and that's a big plus for us."
Material from team media was used in this report.