DETROIT – Detroit’s effort Saturday night against the road-weary New York Rangers was better than the Wings had Wednesday.
But in the end it still wasn’t good enough to pull out a victory.
Derick Brassard scored with 13 seconds left in overtime to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 win over Detroit and snapping a six-game losing streak at Joe Louis Arena in the process.
“When you look at our group there’s no consistency in our play,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose squad was outshot again 40-34. “It doesn’t look like we’re wearing on the other team and at the end of the night, I look at the shot clock and it says 40. We had 34, but 40 is way too many, 28 is way too many. We have a long way to go in that area.
“We have to sort this out,” Babcock continued. “We’re facing a little bit of adversity and we have to dig in. Having a four-game road trip is perfect for us. We have to get way better defensively, way better in our own zone and way better taking care of the puck.”
The Wings, who were coming off an embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, are now 0-2-2 in their last four games and have scored a total of five goals.
“Something has to be done about it,” said Jimmy Howard, who made 37 saves. “We’ve got to figure out a way in here to just go out there and compete for each other. It’s going to be the guys in here that get the job done. I think it’s just believing in each other and not trying to do too much out there. Let guys do their jobs.
“It’s frustrating,” Howard continued. “We lost with (13) seconds left in overtime. Once again, we didn’t really play for 60 minutes and it cost us.”
The Rangers, who were playing their final of nine straight games on the road due to renovations being done at Madison Square Garden, came in with just two wins in their first eight games.
“This has got nothing to do with the Rangers, it’s all about us,” Niklas Kronwall said.
Drew Miller and Daniel Alfredsson scored for Detroit.
The Rangers, who last won at Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 30, 1999, got goals from Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello, while goalie Cam Talbot stopped 32 shots.
Taking a 2-1 lead into the third period, the Rangers got the equalizer just two minutes in when Zuccarello banged home a rebound between Howard’s legs after his original save on Dominic Moore.
Babcock had just juggled up his forward lines out of the locker room because of how poorly his team had played in the second.
“The second period obviously disappoints me,” Babcock said. “When it gets to be a theme and this is a theme. We can’t give it away in the second period, especially in your own barn, you’ve got to outplay the other team and we didn’t do that.”
In overtime, Pouliot was able to chip a puck past Danny DeKeyser to send Brassard in alone on Howard to end the game.
“It’s very disappointing,” Kronwall said. “You play hockey to win games. Right now we’re not getting the job done. We have to get back to the basics and keep it a lot more simple out there. Sometimes the best play might be off the glass and right now we’re trying to play ourselves out of each and every situation. It’s costing us a few goals right now.”
Miller opened the scoring late in the first period.
Picking up a loose puck and the Wings’ blue line, Miller rushed up ice on a 2-on-1 with Jordin Tootoo and then snapped a wrist shot to beat Talbot short side for his first goal of the season.
It was just the Wings’ second goal in a span of 194 minutes and 10 seconds over four games.
Prior to that goal they had been outscored 11-1 during that stretch.
Howard kept the Wings’ slim one-goal advantage with two huge saves before the 10-minute mark of the second period.
The first game off a shot by Ryan McDonagh, who grabbed a rebound off the end boards that Howard joisted his blocker at to stop.
Then, out of position and trying to work through a Ranger player that fell into the crease, he shot his blocker across his body to turn aside Brian Boyle.
The Rangers tied the game up with a power play goal from Pouliot late in the second period.
Pouliot found a loose puck just outside the crease and backhanded a shot past Howard, who was on his side in the crease.
The Wings answered right back, finally capitalizing on their power play, which was their third of the night, scoring with just 11 seconds left in the period.
After some good puck movement in the Rangers’ zone, Pavel Datsyuk fed Alfredsson a pass in the slot and using a Johan Franzen screen to his advantage he beat Talbot with a wrist shot.