It doesn’t matter what uniform goaltender Thomas Greiss is wearing. Whether it’s the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders or Detroit Red Wings, the 13-year veteran goaltender has dominated the Rangers throughout his career and last night was no different.
The Rangers lost 3-2 in a shootout to Greiss and a pesky Red Wings team that caught the Blueshirts with less than their “A” game.
Greiss was able to snap the Rangers’ three game winning streak as he made 37 saves and improved to 6-0-1 against the Garden denizens. Igor Shesterkin made 31 saves as the Rangers lost for only the second time at home since January 2nd.
As has been the case in recent games, the Rangers got behind early. Detroit’s Troy Stetcher scored his first goal of the season from just outside the right face off circle. Stitcher’s shot actually hit the right leg of Rangers’ defenseman Zac Jones and deflected past Shesterkin for a 1-0 lead.
“Second half of the game I liked our game, but the first half we came out real flat, obviously and Detroit took it to us pretty good,” coach Gerard Gallant. “It should’ve been more than 1-0, but Shesty [Shesterkin] played real good.”
The Rangers tied the game in the second period when K’Andre Miller, who continues to improve with every game, scored his fourth of the season. Barclay Goodrow won the face off in the Red Wings’ zone and got the puck to Miller, who skated down the left wing side, went behind the net and finished with a strong move on a wrap-around to put the puck past Greiss for the tying goal.
The tie was short lived, however. 90 seconds later, Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored his 26th goal of the season to give Detroit a 2-1 lead that they maintained after two periods.
For the second straight game, the Rangers did not draw a penalty for the first two periods but in the third, they got their first power play and cashed in with the tying goal. Mika Zibanejad took advantage as he buried the puck on a one timer from his “office,” the left face off circle.
The Rangers potent power play has not had many chances to operate since play resumed this week. “It’d be nice to get a few more power plays. That’s kind of out of our control. All we can do is play hard and let the refs make the call when they’re there,” Goodrow said.
Artemi Panarin (40) and Adam Fox (leads all D-men with 41) assisted on the tying goal but Shesterkin could’ve gotten a helper because his aggressiveness with the puck started the play with a quick pass to Zibanejad at center ice.
It was another thrilling overtime period as both teams had glorious chances to end the game, but both goaltenders were up to the task and the game went to a shootout. “When it’s back and forth, it could get a little tiring,” Fox said. “Obviously, 3-on-3 is a lot more exciting. Points matter, so as fun as it is, you don’t want to give up too many chances.”
Lucas Raymond and Zibanejad traded goals in round one. The shootout went to a sixth round but not before Ryan Strome somehow missed an open net at the end of round five. Strome got Greiss out of position, but he couldn’t bury the puck.
In round six, Detroit’s Pius Suter beat Shesterkin, stick side, with a quick wrister. Filip Chytil was the Rangers’ last hope, but Greiss made the save to preserve the win.
Goodrow knows the slow starts could cost the Rangers some valuable points they are locked in a tight playoff race in the Metropolitan Division. “If we played the first 20 like we played the last 40, we would have put ourselves in a better spot,” he said.
Former Ranger Marc Staal made his first return to the Garden since he was traded to Detroit in September, 2020. At the first stoppage, the Rangers honored the steady defenseman who spent 13 years with the Rangers, with a video tribute, followed by a raucous, standing ovation from the fans.