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WINGS POST-GAME: MADISON SQUARE HOWARD

After a terrible showing against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night, Detroit made the trip to Manhattan to face off against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Jimmy Howard got the start, since he’s got an unbelievable record in that building, and Anthony Mantha was in the hot seat after being publicly called out by Jeff Blashill after the game against the Oilers. A bounceback was needed for the Wings to get their season back on track. Let’s see if they bounced back successfully.

THE RUNDOWN

The first period got off to an exciting start as Henrik Lundqvist robbed Dylan Larkin on a breakaway. Brendan Smith took two penalties in the first and Detroit was unable to convert on either chances, making lots of passes around the zone, but only putting three shots on net. Trevor Daley went down with an injury around the halfway point of the period and left the game. Luckily, Blashill had seven defensemen dressed. The Wings owned the first period both at 5v5 and on the powerplay. They outshot the Rangers 18-6 and hit a brick wall in Henrik Lundqvist.

The second period was the Jimmy Howard show. Howie turned away 16 Rangers shots as they fought their way back into the game. I managed to catch a few of the big saves, but Howie really put his athleticism on display as he turned away each and every New York chance.

The Wings didn’t go without their chances, though. Mike Green hit the post. Andreas Athanasiou almost buried a wraparound. Nobody could solve the goalies in this period.

The third period is when this game really opened up. Detroit really started to take over during the first half of the period, wiring shot after shot onto Lundqvist, who was masterfully turning pucks away. Finally, on the powerplay, Tomas Tatar found a way to beat him.

All seemed to be going well for the Red Wings until the 10 minute mark of the period, when the Rangers finally figured out Howard. Kris Kreider actually banged the puck out of mid-air to beat Howard in close.

It was a tough goal to swallow, but the team was playing so well that I wasn’t too bothered by it. However, as the clock started to run low, I got more and more nervous. Overtime hasn’t gone too well for this team recently, so I didn’t want to see it again.

Unfortunately, I did. And it didn’t take long for the Rangers to put an end to it as the Wings left Mats Zuccarello all alone in front of the net. He sniped a beautiful shot past Jimmy Howard.

In a 2-1 loss on the road, at least Detroit managed to get a point.

THE STATS

Detroit actually played a solid game tonight. After the first period, they pretty much outplayed the rangers from a puck possession and shot attempt standpoint. They managed to hit the net 41 times, which is just one short of their highest shot total on the season (a 42 shot outing against the Calgary Flames). If it weren’t for Henrik Lundqvist, the Wings would have had at least five goals. They out-attempted the Rangers too, recording more than 70 shot attempts throughout the course of the game. This is a tough loss to swallow, but they need to put it behind them and get ready for tomorrow night.

MOTOR CITY MVP

Tonight’s Motor City MVP is Jimmy Howard. It has to be. He was unbelievable. He made 29 saves on 31 shots. I don’t know what Madison Square Garden does to him, but he needs to find a way to channel that energy to other games.

NEXT UP

The Wings are on a plane tonight and on their way back to Detroit. The New Jersey Devils are in town Saturday night to face the Wings for the first time since the final game ever played at Joe Louis Arena. Game time is 7:00 P.M. ET and you can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or MSG+ 2 if you’re in the Jersey area. As always, Brock Seguin will have the pre-game up in the early afternoon so check back to WingsNation.com for game day notes and roster updates for both teams.