NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers' 1-0 lead against a dangerous -- and desperate -- Detroit Red Wings team wasn’t enough for comfort heading into the third period.
But the Blueshirts got what they needed almost as soon as the puck dropped on the final session, as Chris Kreider tallied twice to seal the Rangers’ 3-0 win against the Wings Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Jostling for position in front of Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, Kreider tipped a blast from defenseman Ryan McDonagh just 14 seconds into play. Then he put his speed to good use, putting the finishing touches on a 2-on-1 rush that gave the Rangers a commanding 3-0 lead against the Wings at 12:11.
Though it was goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s day that will be remembered -- his 30-save shutout allowed him to record his 300th NHL win, just one shy of Mike Richter’s franchise record -- Kreider’s contributions did not go unnoticed.
It was Kreider’s second multi-goal game and, though the 22-year-old winger has three goals and four points in the last five games, he played just 9:45 in Friday’s 4-2 win over Carolina.
Kreider said that was a “gut check” type of game for the team, but perhaps the diminished ice time sparked him as well?
“Nothing changes,” he said. “Same approach, same mentality.”
Both Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan finished with a pair of assists on Kreider’s third-period goals to extend their point streaks to four and six games, respectively.
The Rangers have now won two straight heading into the final month of the season. Meanwhile, the Red Wings, who have not missed the playoffs since 1990, fell out of the playoff picture for now with the regulation loss.
“It was definitely, for both teams, a playoff-type game. Everybody is bunched together and Detroit plays that type of game where there isn’t a lot of space or room on the ice,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “You have to fight through that and you have to make sure you make the high-percentage plays and keep making those plays and that’s what we did.”