DETROIT -- Pavel Buchnevich was nothing if not masterfully persistent on Thursday night. In the first period against the Red Wings, the Ranger winger opened the scoring when he gathered the rebound of his own shot not once but twice. In the third, he came achingly close to setting up another go-ahead goal, a play that promptly went the other way and wound up in the Rangers' net. So just a little while after that, he got the jump on a 15-year veteran defenseman and scored the game-tying tally instead.
Buchnevich imposed himself for stretches against the Red Wings on this night, the reward for which was to get the puck on his stick in the shootout. But an impressive evening closed on a downbeat as Buchnevich's shot got behind Jimmy Howard but glanced off the crossbar and out, as the Blueshirts went down to a 3-2 shootout defeat in Motown.
Buchnevich took home his second multigoal game of the season, with assists on each of them from Brendan Lemieux, assists No. 1 and 2 as a Ranger for the 22-year-old rookie who arrived from Winnipeg last week. Brett Howden and Tony DeAngelo each added helpers on the Buchnevich goals - for Howden, his first point since returning from an MCL sprain on Sunday, and for DeAngelo, his 11th assist in the last 12 games.
Video: NYR@DET: Buchnevich keeps firing, opens the scoring
And the Rangers received a superb 43-save effort from Henrik Lundqvist in his 850th game for the franchise - which made him the third goaltender in NHL history to play that many games for a single team. But that team headed home to prepare for Saturday night's Garden match with the Devils having to settle for just one point out of extra time for the fourth time in the last six games.
"Tonight, from what I can see, I think we have a lot to be optimistic about in our game," said Lemieux, who has three points in five games as a Ranger. "I think this is a time when you need to take that to heart."
"I think we all need to understand how important this stretch is for us," Lundqvist said. "Understand how important it is how we should play in a tie game, the decisions we make with and without the puck, because we create habits right now for a lot of these guys that don't play that many games.
"Going down the stretch, creating good habits, understanding what it takes to win games. It's been hard for us to win games, but we've got to continue with the positives here."
Video: NYR@DET: Lundqvist makes stellar stop on Bertuzzi
The biggest, and most spectacular, of Lundqvist's 43 saves came on a Red Wings 2-on-none with just under nine minutes to go, pushing from right to left to take one away from Tyler Bertuzzi and keep the Blueshirts within reach, setting the table for Buchnevich to pull them level. "It was a lot of action," the goaltender said of his evening. "It was a fun game to play."
Bertuzzi did get one on a deflection in the second period, a goal that matched Buchnevich's first-period strike when he got the puck at the right circle, fired again off the rebound in the slot, then picked up that rebound in the left circle and ripped it home.
Andreas Anthanasiou was the man who scored Detroit's third-period goal off the counter, then got the lone marker of the shootout as the Red Wings snapped an eight-game skid. The centerman put his game-breaking speed on full display over his 24:13 of ice - his career high - putting five pucks on Lundqvist, including more than one breakaway.
"Athanasiou was incredible out there," said Lemieux. "He was a lot to handle."
The Rangers allowed only three goals on this two-game road trip, on Thursday getting major contributions on the backline from Brendan Smith, who shifted back from the wing to play a season-high 22:13, and from Libor Hajek, the 21-year-old playing his fourth NHL game, who was a plus-1 with three shots over his 21:44.
Buchnevich's pair, meanwhile, gave him three goals in the last three games, and 10 points over the last 12. They were his 14th and 15th goals of the season, establishing a new career high in his 50th game after scoring 14 in 74 games a year ago.
"He had a real good night," said David Quinn. "I'm proud of him the way he bounced back, I didn't think he had a great night down in Dallas and bounced back tonight. You're not going to have great nights every night - the key is going to be, how do you respond when things don't go well for you, and I thought he responded real well tonight."
The Rangers as a group needed to summon a response after what transpired just past the six-minute mark of the third, when Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser saved a goal at one end and started the Red Wings the other way in a flash.
With the game tied at 1, Buchnevich muscled past Filip Hronek at the left wall to set up a 2-on-1 with Howden, and after Howard lunged over to stop Howden's shot, he was out of the play when DeAngelo came in to throw a backhander on the rebound. DeKeyser made the save for Howard, then started the puck up-ice, a rush Athanasiou finished with a blistering wrist shot up top, his 17th goal this season and second in two games against the Blueshirts.
"Because we've got guys diving in and almost scoring - it hit the knob of his stick and kicked to our guy, and then the guy (DeKeyser) is playing goalie, and then it bounces to their guy," Lemieux said. "I don't know - that's the game of hockey sometimes."
If ever a goal could deflate a team, it would be that kind of near-miss and counterattack within a matter of seconds. But "I thought we responded well," Quinn said. "That's happened to us in overtime as well, where you get a chance and all of a sudden, a bounce.
"I thought we stuck with it, though. I thought we kept playing hard and had some great shifts after that. And obviously we get the great goal by Lemieux and Pavel."
That one came with 5:31 left, when Buchnevich jumped onto the attacking side of Niklas Kronwall at the Detroit line and took a long lead pass from Lemieux's backhand for a breakaway, going backhand himself on Howard (32 saves), who got a piece but not enough to keep out Buchnevich's second of the night.
Video: NYR@DET: Buchnevich ties game with his second goal
"We've run that winger-slash-across before," Lemieux said. "I know he's an offensive-minded guy - he got on the other side of his guy, and I just kind of threw it hoping he would lift and maybe get down so it wouldn't be an icing. But he made a play out of it, because he's that high in skill, that good a of a player. It was a great play by him and it got us back in the game."
It was enough to carry the game to overtime - the 19th time this season the Rangers have gone beyond the 60 minutes - and when the shootout arrived, the speedy Athanasiou slowed his approach and slipped a shot along the ice through Lundqvist.
"Everyone hates to lose - you want to turn the music on and have fun in the room after the game. But it wasn't in the cards tonight," Lemieux said. "I think we should be once again proud of our effort. Back to the wall.
"You've got to play the right way, and the winning will come."