Red Wings Battle Back to Beat Rangers

Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 7:14 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Brendan Shanahan struck the first blow against shaky Dominik Hasek and the rest of his former Detroit teammates.

The New York Rangers solved Hasek twice more in the first period and seemed to be on the way to breaking a losing streak.

Not so fast.

The Red Wings found their groove in the third period and turned unsteady play by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist into a 4-3 victory in the lone NHL game Monday night.

Henrik Zetterberg capped Detroit's three-goal third period with a power-play score, after Jiri Hudler and Robert Lang notched goals to help the Red Wings tie it.

Shanahan got things rolling for New York when his quick drive from the right circle sailed by Hasek, who made just a cursory swipe with his glove as the puck went by him 2:18 in.

``He scored so many important goals for us and all of a sudden he scored the first one against me,'' Hasek said. ``Before I realized it was him, he already scored a goal.''

Things got worse for the Red Wings' 42-year-old netminder just 13 seconds later when his miscue behind the net quickly created a 2-0 deficit.

Martin Straka dumped the puck in and Hasek went back to chase. It hit the end boards and took a funny bounce off his stick before kicking in front, where Michael Nylander scored easily into an empty net.

Pavel Datsyuk made it 2-1 at 7:24 but the Rangers responded 7 minutes later. Marcel Hossa scored from nearly the same spot as Shanahan _ this time putting a shot beyond Hasek's halfhearted flinch with his blocker.

``I feel like all three goals I should save. That's all I can say,'' Hasek said. ``It actually was a 7 o'clock game. I thought it was starting at 7:30.''

Hasek offered a laugh with his excuse. He could afford that since he shook off his slow start and was rescued by Detroit's second big third-period comeback in New York in a week.

``It was the worst period for me this year,'' Hasek said.

He saw similarities to last week's rally against the New York Islanders. In that one, the Red Wings erased a 3-0 hole before winning in overtime.

Hasek didn't feel he played poorly on Long Island unlike Monday when he said he put up the worst period of an otherwise stellar season.

``My teammates played great,'' said Hasek, whose goals-against average rose to 2.08 _ still third best in the NHL. ``In the second and third period we didn't give them too much.''

The Rangers produced all their offense on seven first-period shots. They recorded 13 more without success over the final 40 minutes.

As Hasek got stronger, Lundqvist faltered.

Hudler began the comeback 2:31 into the third. Lundqvist skated calmly behind the net, but Valtteri Filppula was in his face as the goalie tried to swing the puck around the boards. Filppula blocked the pass, and the puck came out front to Hudler, who scored his ninth goal with the second whack of his stick.

Robert Lang tied it just over 8 minutes later, getting to a rebound of Daniel Cleary's soft shot that slowly bounced off Lundqvist.

``It was one of those things that happened,'' Lundqvist said. ``They took advantage. It was a tough break.''

The Red Wings would get one more.

Rangers forward Blair Betts fanned on the puck at the side of the net, and Zetterberg jumped on it and fired a shot past Lundqvist to make it 4-3 with 7:24 remaining _ 29 seconds after New York defenseman Aaron Ward was sent off for hooking.

``They were putting a little more pressure on us and the bounces didn't go our way,'' Betts said.

The Red Wings have won four straight and eight of 11 to move within three points of Central Division-leading Nashville.

New York is going in the opposite direction and is severely hampering its chances of reaching the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

``I thought we had them on their heels,'' said Shanahan, who has a team-leading 27 goals _ including three in four games. ``They found a way to win. We found a way to beat ourselves.''

The Rangers have dropped three straight, seven of 10 and 14 of 21, slipping to fourth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The loss left the Rangers five points out of a playoff spot with 29 games to go.

``There's a lot of hockey left but we're digging ourselves a hole,'' Shanahan said.

And it could get deeper.

The Rangers have been looking for a center to play with Shanahan all season, and they acquired noted agitator Sean Avery from the Los Angeles Kings before the game. But now they might have to play without leading scorer Jaromir Jagr, who injured a hip flexor and is questionable for Tuesday's game at New Jersey.

Notes: The Red Wings hadn't played at Madison Square Garden since Oct. 25, 2003, and hadn't won there since March 17, 2002. ... The Rangers are 210-258-103-0 against Detroit, including 10-25-4-0 since 1986. ... Hasek has allowed three goals in five of six starts. ... Shanahan is the eighth-leading scorer in Red Wings history with 633 points _ including 309 goals.