DETROIT -- In the course of a 37-second span in the second period, an evenly played hockey game suddenly turned lopsided.
With the score tied 1-1, the Red Wings gave up two goals in 37 seconds allowing the New York Rangers to cruise past the Wings, 4-1, Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena.
As has been the case for most of the season, the Wings played a fairly solid game, but each miscue seemed to end up in the back of their net and the Wings are left searching for answers as to how to correct their on-ice errors.
1. Special teams: At 19:33 of the first period, the Rangers scored a shorthanded goal on a 3-on-1 breakout, giving them a 1-0 lead. The Wings fought back in the second to tie it up on a an outstanding tic-tac-toe passing play where all five players touched the puck, which resulted in Frans Nielsen scoring a power-play goal, his 14th tally of the year. But after giving up two quick goals in the second period, Detroit had two back-to-back power-play opportunities early in the third and failed to convert, which killed any momentum the Wings might have had.
Quotable: "I thought they got some timely goals, especially there in the second. I thought we played pretty decent, matched up pretty good against them. I made some boneheaded plays there in the second, turned the puck over a few times. They got full momentum out of that and scored two goals. I got to be better than that but then in the third I thought it's an even game, not a lot of clear chances. They're playing clog-up hockey in front of their net. It's tough to get any quality chances through there. Definitely those two goals in the second is the difference." - Henrik Zetterberg
Quotable II: "It's tough when you have a lot of nights like that, there's not much you can do about it. There's going to be those nights and unfortunately they happen a little more than you want." -- Andreas Athanasiou
2. Antti Raanta: New York's star goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, is sidelined for the next two to three weeks with a lower body injury. In his place the Rangers started backup Antti Raanta, who was flawless in goal. He won his 14th game of the season, a career high, made 23 saves and his save percentage was .958. For those hoping that the Wings may have caught a break because of Lundqvist's injury, Raanta was equal to the task.
Quotable: "He played well. They played good in front of him but when we got our grade A's (scoring chances), he was there and made some big saves." - Zetterberg
Quotable II: "He's a good goalie and I think he's having a pretty good season, too. He made some big saves out there. We had a couple of chances and he did his job." -- Xavier Ouellet
3. Brendan Smith: Former Wings defenseman Brendan Smith made a triumphant return to the Joe. He played a total of 22 minutes, blocked two shots, doled out two hits and had the first shot on goal of the game, a blistering slap shot that Wings goalie Petr Mrazek made a nice save on. During the pre-game warmup, Smith was talking to his former teammates and even skated to the Wings bench to catch up with the coaches. After the game, Smith sneaked over to the Wings dressing room to say hello to Detroit's training and equipment staff.
Quotable: "A couple of times some of the boys were chirping back and forth. It's all in good fun. It was really different, just being on the opposite side. It was exciting to play back at the Joe again. I love playing here. It was just a little different playing against your buddies, but once the puck drops it becomes all business." -- Smith