NEW YORK -- The Red Wings and New York Rangers were in the same boat coming off a long layoff due to the All-Star break and bye, but it was the Rangers who had more jump at the start.
Although Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard kept the Wings in the game in the early going, he couldn't hold off the Rangers forever.
New York scored three times in the second period en route to a 4-2 victory Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
Detroit is now winless in seven straight overall and nine straight on the road.
Robby Fabbri and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Wings.
Pavel Buchnevich, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad (power play) scored for the Rangers.
Howard (2-20-2) made 35 saves.
New York netminder Igor Shesterkin (3-1-0) had 23 stops.
Up next for both teams is the second half of the home-and-home back-to-back set in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena Saturday night.
After that, the Wings (12-36-4) will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
The Rangers (24-21-4) will host the Dallas Stars Monday.
1. Robby Fabbri: The Wings did not have a lot of scoring chances in the first two periods as they spent too much time in their own zone. At 5:59 of the third, Robby Fabbri's shot from the right circle eluded Shesterkin. Dylan Larkin got the lone assist. It was Fabbri's 12th of the season, tying him with the injured Anthony Mantha for third on the team. Tyler Bertuzzi leads the Wings with 17 goals and Larkin is second with 13. It is Fabbri's first goal since Jan. 7 against the Montreal Canadiens, snapping a seven-game goalless streak. Fabbri then assisted on Valtteri Filppula's goal at 10:59. Fabbri finished with 18 shifts for 14:46, had two shots and was even.
Quotable: "The message was we play these guys tomorrow night. Let's throw everything at them. I thought the two goals in the third were just relentless pressure, pinning them in. They got lost a couple of times in their coverage. Tomorrow night we're gonna have to spend a lot of time in their zone and manage the puck. When they're flying 3-4 guys up the ice, we're gonna have to make sure we're getting back and not giving them easy chances like we did tonight to start the game." - Larkin
Quotable II: "They were on top of us. The ice tilts one direction or the other and the ice tilted against us for the first two periods. They had more jump. They were cleaner with the puck. They were out of their zone way quicker. They caused us to defend way more. We were tired from defending for the first two periods. I thought in the third, we were a little bit better. I thought we had a little more jump. We were on top of them a little bit more, we spent more time in the O-zone. We spent more time making them defend more. Not unbelievable but better. That's the way the game is. You're either defending and it makes you tired and you're a step slow, or you're on your toes. So we just gotta make sure we have more jump tomorrow." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Dylan Larkin/Valtteri Filppula: It was a scary sight for Wings fans in the second period. Bertuzzi's slap shot hit Larkin in the back of the knee at 11:45. Referee Kelly Sutherland waited to see if Larkin would be able to get off the ice before finally blowing the whistle at 11:51 when he couldn't. Larkin had to be helped off the ice and then eventually left the bench for the dressing room. Fortunately, Larkin returned for the start of the third period and assisted on Fabbri's goal at 5:59, digging the puck out of the corner and finding Fabbri. Larkin extended his point streak to four games, with two goals and four assists in that span. Larkin finished with 21 shifts for 18:34, had one shot, two takeaways, a blocked shot, was 13-of-16 in face-offs and was plus-1. Filppula, playing in his 999th career game, scored at 10:59 of the third, cutting the Rangers' lead to 4-2. It was Filppula's first goal since Nov. 19 against the Ottawa Senators, snapping a 27-game goalless skid. Fabbri and Daley assisted. In 25 career games against the Rangers, Filppula has six goals and 17 assists. Filppula finished with 22 shifts for 14:44, had two shots, one hit, was 7-of-12 in face-offs and was minus-2.
Quotable: "Right on the side of the leg where there's a little bony spot on your leg. Hit the nerve there, so I lost feeling and movement in my foot for a little bit. That's mostly the main reason I had to go off to get it looked at. Everything is okay and it felt just like I took a puck in the leg in the third." - Larkin
Quotable II: "I don't think rust, we've played a lot of hockey this season, obviously we gave up goals too easily. The goalie has been great but we've given up Grade A chances, too many. Good players score from those, so we've got to be better defensively." - Filppula
Quotable III: "I think we've had a good group that way. We've kept playing. Dylan's a big piece of that. Dylan has not quit in him at all. He's in a lot of ways one of the big leaders on this team, and I think guys follow suit. We want to keep getting better, and we want to make sure that every shift matters. We've had a pretty good mentality of next shift, next game and I thought we did a good job of that tonight." - Blashill
3. Jimmy Howard: Howard's love of playing in his home state of New York, especially at Madison Square Garden where his idol Mike Richter played, is very well documented. Howard's numbers against the Rangers are his best against any team. He came into Friday night's contest with a 10-4-3 record, 1.90 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in 17 career appearances against the Rangers. The Rangers decided to get Howard into the game right away, peppering him with 15 shots in the first period alone. Two of the best chances came off the stick of Pavel Buchnevich, once from the left circle at 1:25 and another from the low slot at 17:10. Howard also stopped Rangers leading scorer Artemi Panarin (26-42-68) three times in the first. But in the second, the Rangers had a little more luck. Zibanejad found Buchnevich streaking to the left side of the net and Buchnevich got his ninth of the season at 9:23. Chris Kreider's deflection at 11:56 made it 2-0. Then Panarin finally got one to go at 19:18 for a 3-0 Rangers lead.
Quotable: "They were just throwing pucks at the net. I got fortunate there on the one glove save where I guess I picked the right angle. It was good. I mean, they started on time tonight. They played really well. They got in on the forecheck and they worked us in the offensive zone as a five-man unit for two periods. And then they got the fourth one on the power play. They did what any team would do and they started dumping the puck. You could see that we started to get opportunities then." - Howard
Quotable II: "It was a good start. I think Howie bailed us out big time. We needed that. You can't rely on him the whole game. He was our best player. He kept us in early. If he wasn't playing, it would've been a different story. We got to figure out the second period there, the goals, where they come at times when they're close to each other. We gotta figure that out." - Larkin
Quotable III: "Yeah, too much defending but I thought Jimmy had to be great in the first. Otherwise, it could've looked like that in the first. Just too much defending. We've gotta be faster in our own zone. We've talked about it lots. We gotta be better in our D-zone but a huge part of being better is to make sure that we're faster and we're quicker." - Blashill