DETROIT (AP) — Andreas Athanasiou provided plenty of offense to make up for the loss of two key players.
Athanasiou scored in the third period and had the only goal in a shootout , lifting the Detroit Red Wings over the scuffling New York Rangers 3-2 on Thursday night to snap an eight-game losing streak.
“He’s an electric player when he’s on and I thought he was highly electric all night,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
Detroit played without leading scorer Dylan Larkin and top-scoring defenseman Mike Green. Larkin was out with a back injury and Green will miss the rest of the season because of a virus.
Tyler Bertuzzi also scored and Jimmy Howard made 32 saves for the Red Wings, who ended their longest slide of the season.
The Rangers have lost a season-high six straight, but veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said the franchise’s younger players have a lot to play for in each and every game.
“The thing these guys need to understand is how important this stretch is for next season,” Lundqvist said. “These are the games where you build the habits that you take into the summer and into training camp, so we’ve got to keep finding the positive things that we are doing and build on them.”
Rangers coach David Quinn put it another way.
“Every guy has a career at stake,” he said.
New York’s Pavel Buchnevich made it 2-all with 5:31 left in the third period by scoring his second goal of the game on a breakaway.
Athanasiou put the Red Wings ahead at 6:15 of the third and looked toward the rafters, playing in the team’s first home game since Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay died on Monday.
“I think I was just happy that the puck went in and wanted to say a little thank you to Ted,” Athanasiou said. “A good tribute to him.”
Athanasiou had a chance to score another go-ahead goal late in regulation, but missed the net after putting the puck between his legs. Lundqvist prevented Athanasiou from scoring midway through overtime, but couldn’t deny him in a 1-on-1 situation in the shootout.
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Athanasiou previously beat Lundqvist with a shot from the inside of the right circle, scoring on a 2-on-1 set up by saves at the other end of the ice by Howard and defenseman Danny DeKeyser. Howard stopped Brett Howden’s shot and DeKeyser prevented Tony DeAngelo from scoring off the rebound.
“We had a couple of great chances and then the puck goes the other way,” Quinn said.
Lundqvist made 43 saves and some were spectacular, including a stop that prevented Bertuzzi from scoring a second goal to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead midway through the third period.
“It was a pretty good game for me to play,” Lundqvist said. “I had to battle for 65 minutes. There was a lot of action. It was a fun game.”
Buchnevich broke a scoreless tie midway through the first period and Bertuzzi redirected the puck past Lundqvist early in the second, standing with his back facing the net.
NOTES: There was a long moment of silence for Lindsay before the game. Later, players honored him by tapping their sticks on the ice as the crowd stood and cheered. A visitation for Lindsay is scheduled at Little Caesars Arena on Friday from 9:07 a.m. to 7:07 p.m., with starting and ending times that are a nod to his No. 7 jersey. … Rangers D Marc Staal was in the lineup after being questionable with the flu. D Kevin Shattenkirk was a healthy scratch. … Detroit recalled C Christoffer Ehn from the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and played him on the fourth line.
Rangers: Host the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
Red Wings: Play at Tampa Bay on Saturday.
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