By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com
Ryan Callahan sure knows how to celebrate his milestone moments.
Back on February 25th Callahan scored his 100th career goal---the overtime game-winning goal---against the Buffalo Sabres. And on Wednesday night at The Garden Callahan celebrated his 27th birthday by scoring his career-high 27th goal of the season---2:42 into overtime---to lift the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Callahan's goal-scoring heroics capped a terrific and passionate two-way performance by the Rangers captain on his birthday as the Rangers earned their second win in a row after a mini two-game losing skid. The Blueshirts are now 4-2-0 on this season-high seven-game homestand, which concludes Friday with a tilt against Buffalo. The Rangers now have 99 points on the season, giving them a three-point cushion on the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The game-winning goal was a rocket off Callahan's stick from right wing that beat Detroit goalie Ty Conklin up high. Conklin, recalled from the minors on an emergency basis with Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald both injured, turned in a solid outing for the Red Wings stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced.
The Rangers other goal came on an end-to-end power play rush up ice by Brad Richards at 14:58 of the first period. Richards took the puck from behind his own net, skated through all four Red Wing defenders, and slipped the puck through Conklin's pads to tie the game 1-1 on his 24th goal of the season. Henrik Zetterberg had given Detroit the lead with his 19th goal 3:36 into the game.
Henrik Lundqvist came up big late in the third period when the Red Wings had several shifts of sustained pressure in the Rangers zone to help force overtime. Lundqvist finished with 26 saves to earn his 34th victory of the season.