The Rangers are currently second in the Eastern Conference (and second in the Metropolitan Division) with 84 points and are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.
As if that weren't enough, the Rangers welcome back three players: goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who missed the last three games due to neck spasms, Rick Nash, who missed the last 20 games with a bad bone bruise in his left leg, and Marc Staal, out the last two games with back spasms.
Against the Wings, Nash has 27 goals and 23 assists in 60 games.
The only one who won't play for the Rangers is Derick Brassard, who did not make the trip due to illness.
Brassard is second on the team in scoring with 50 points. Mats Zuccarello has 51.
"First of all, they’re a great team," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "They’ve had one of the best goalies in the league for a long time. But they’re a great team. They’re very good in the O zone so we’re going to have to have real good D zone coverage. I talked to you about yesterday, we’re going to have to be better in that area in general against these guys and second we gotta make sure we get to their crease. We talk about owning each crease. Own our crease and own their crease. We’re going to have to do that tonight."
Petr Mrazek will make his first career appearance against the Rangers.
"I think Petr played real good last game so hopefully he can come out and be real good tonight," Blashill said. "He’s been good for us for most of the year so we’ll need that same performance tonight."
Both the Pittsburgh Penguins, just ahead of the Wings (77 points) in seventh place in the East with 78 points, and the Philadelphia Flyers, just behind the Wings with 75 points, won Friday.
In the Wings' previous meeting with the Rangers, the Rangers won 1-0 in overtime on Feb. 21 in New York.
Lundqvist only had to make 22 saves so the Wings will have to make his life a little more difficult to be successful.
"He’s able to fight through traffic and their D do a good job of deflecting out so it’s not easy but we’re going to have to fight to get traffic and we’re going to have to fight to get seconds," Blashill said. "I think that’s an area we can get better at, making sure we get pucks and bodies to the net."
The Wings have talked about playing a 60-minute game and the final 20 minutes will be critical as the Rangers have scored at least one goal in the third period in 16 of their last 19 games.
The Wings and Rangers play their final game in the regular season in New York April 9.
The Rangers got the first shot on goal, Nash from the low slot in the first minute of the game.
It took a while for the Wings to get their first shot on net, Danny DeKeyser's from the left circle at 4:53 but then Darren Helm followed up with a quick rebound, tying the shots at 2.
Lundqvist was there for the stops.
Dylan Larkin hit the right post at 5:19.
Pavel Datsyuk, playing apart from Euro Twin Henrik Zetterberg, stole the puck from J.T. Miller behind the net and shot from the right side at 10:38.
The Rangers got the first power play of the game when Larkin was called for interference at 12:27.
Nash appeared to hit Mrazek in the face when trying to deflect the puck.
Mrazek went down briefly and trainer Piet Van Zant came out to check on him but Mrazek stayed in and the Wings killed off the penalty.
Lundqvist was tested again when Larkin found Jonathan Ericsson in the left circle.
Mrazek was able to stop Chris Kreider's shot but was out of position for the rebound. Mike Green tried to get in the way by Derek Stepan's shot went in the net with 48.5 seconds left in the period.
RANGERS 1, RED WINGS 0
SCORING: 1. NYR, Derek Stepan (16), Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello,19:11.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Dylan Larkin, interference, 12:27.
SHOTS: Detroit 15, New York 7.
It was all special teams, all the time to start the period.
Just 37 seconds in, Viktor Stalberg was called for hooking Larkin.
As the Rangers were about to finish killing off the penalty, Gustav Nyquist went to the box for interference.
With 47 seconds left on their power play, the Rangers' Kevin Hayes ended up in the box for hooking.
Neither team scored on their power-play opportunities.
Larkin's wraparound try went through the crease and out of harm's way at 3:59.
After Mrazek made a save on Jesper Fast at 8:53, defenseman Niklas Kronwall was injured when he was caught between Mrazek and Andreas Athanasiou.
Athanasiou and Brad Richards had to help Kronwall off the ice.
With 3:54 left in the second, the Wings announced that Kronwall would not return due to a lower-body injury.
Krieder had a partial breakaway at 11:30 but Mrazek was able to make the save.
Lundqvist had a nice glove save on DeKeyser's shot at 11:46.
The last time the two teams met, Lundqvist only had to make 22 saves, which included overtime.
With more than four minutes left in the second, the Wings already had 22 shots. But Lundqvist had stopped all 22.
RANGERS 1, RED WINGS 0
PENALTIES: 1. NYR, minor, Viktor Stalberg, hooking, :37. 2. DET, minor, Gustav Nyquist, interference 2:36. 3. NYR, minor, Kevin Hayes, hooking, 3:49. 4. NYR, minor, Mats Zuccarello, roughing, 12:21. 5. DET, minor, Brendan Smith, elbowing, 12:21.
SHOTS: Detroit 9 (24), New York 10 (17).
There's a reason that Lundqvist and Montreal's Carey Price are considered the top two net minders in the league.
Lundqvist continued to make his case, stopping Abdelkader at the right side of the net and Kyle Quincey from the high slot, until 4:28 of the third.
Luke Glendening tapped the puck ahead to Helm who lifted it top shelf over Lundqvist on the Wings' 27th shot of the game.
DeKeyser got the second assist.
Larkin tried using his speed again at 12:43 but Lundqvist made the stop and prevented Abdelkader, who got tangled up with Nash, from getting the rebound.
Fast was called for hooking Tomas Tatar at 7:52 and the Wings had two good chances, one by Datsyuk, but Lundqvist stopped them both.
Helm came hard on the rush at 12:22 but Lundqvist stopped that shot and Glendening's rebound attempt.
Abdelkader went to the box for goaltender interference at 14:18 and the Rangers made them pay.
Keith Yandle's shot from the right point was deflected by Kreider in front at 15:33. Zuccarello got the second assist.
The Wings pulled Mrazek for the extra attacker at 17:50, just before Eric Staal was called for holding.
With 6-on-4, the Ranfgers had two chances to hit the empty net but hit the post once and missed the net once and hit the post.
Richards, the former Ranger, buried the rebound with 31.8 seconds left to tie the game.
The Rangers challenged it because of goaltender interference but the goal stood.
RANGERS 2, RED WINGS 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Darren Helm (9), Luke Glendening, Danny DeKeyser, 4:28. 2. NYR, PPG, Chris Kreider (15), Keith Yandle, Mats Zuccarello, 15:33. 3. DET, PPG, Brad Richards (9), Justin Abdelkader, Henrik Zetterberg, 19:28.
PENALTIES: 1. NYR, minor, Jesper Fast, hooking, 7:52. 2. DET, minor, Justin Abdelkader, goaltender interference, 14:18. 3. NYR, minor, Eric Staal, holding, 17:55.
SHOTS: Detroit ,14 (38) New York 4 (21).
It was an exciting 3-on-3 as both the Wings and Rangers had their chances.
Larkin had a breakaway at 1:35, but Lundqvist stopped him and then stopped Nyquist on a partial breakaway at 2:11.
Stepan had a chance at 2:48 but Mrazek made that save.
At 3:03, Datsyuk's shot went off of Helm and into the net for the game-winner.
Originally credited to Datsyuk, Helm got his second of the game and 10th of the season, from Datsyuk and DeKeyser.
RED WINGS 3, RANGERS 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Darren Helm (10), Pavel Datsyuk, Danny DeKeyser, 3:03.
SHOTS: Detroit 5 (43), New York 4 (25)