Last night was probably the best 1-0 win you will every see. The Rangers and Red Wings combined for 86 shots on goal. Jimmy Howard and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 85 of them. Howard stopped 47 of 48, but was bested by The King, who stopped all 38 shots he faced. It took a bit of puck luck for the Rangers to get one past Howard, and it was the only one that would find twine in the game.
There really isn’t much else to say about this game. Both teams just flew up and down the ice. Neither team was perfect defensively, but the goalies were there to make the key stops when needed. Interestingly enough, the one goal the Rangers scored didn’t come off a defensive breakdown by the Wings, even though they had a few brain farts.
On to the goal:
Rangers 1, Wings 0
As mentioned above, the Wings didn’t really have a breakdown here. New York’s strong side overload –specifically Benoit Pouliot– forced the Wings into a turnover in the Rangers zone, but the Rangers still needed to go 200 feet for the goal. Pouliot got the puck to Mats Zuccarello for a 2-on-2 rush with Derick Brassard. Pouliot got a head start on the Wings forwards, making it a 3-on-2 by the time they hit the red line. The forwards were backchecking pretty hard, but couldn’t catch the play. Zuccarello gave the puck to Brassard at the blue line, forcing Jakub Kindl to bite a bit towards the puck and forcing Brian Lashoff to respect the cross-ice pass to Pouliot. When Brass got the puck back to Zuccarello, it became a mini 2-on-1 with Brian Lashoff back. Zucc’s pass just deflected off Lashoff’s stick and behind Howard.
So many shot attempts. Unreal actually. There were 129 registered Corsi events (71-58 Rangers) and 105 Fenwick events (56-49 Rangers) in this game. At 5v5, the margins were 62-42 (Corsi) and 50-37 (Fenwick). The edge was clearly for the Rangers, especially as the game continued into the second and third periods. The Wings didn’t really begin dominating play until the final minutes as the Rangers protected their lead. That’s standard.
People will look at the score of this game and say that the Rangers need to score more. It is a factual statement, but it doesn’t really apply to this game (or Tuesday’s game for that matter). The goaltending in this game was just phenomenal, and I think fans of both teams were treated to one of the best regular season games we will see in a while. The Rangers got the huge two points in regulation for the four point swing. That’s what matters the most.