NEW YORK -- Jimmy Howard's coach couldn't stop raving about the goaltender's performance.
"Jimmy stole the game," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said of Howard, whose 32-save effort led the Red Wings to a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night. "Jimmy had one of the best performances I've seen out of any goalie at any level."
After beginning the season with two straight losses, the Red Wings have won consecutive games.
Thomas Vanek and Drew Miller scored for Detroit, which improved to 2-2-0, and it has Howard to thank for their latest win as New York had the better of play for wide stretches. The Rangers outshot Detroit 33-18 and Howard was forced into making highlight reel stops to keep the Red Wings in the game.
"We can't play like this if we want to win," Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg said. "We found a way to win."
Even after spotting the Rangers a quick lead.
New York led 1-0 as Mika Zibanejad redirected Ryan McDonagh's slap shot from the right point past Howard 1:09 into the game. The Rangers carried the 1-0 lead into the first intermission, following an opening 20 minutes in which they outshot the Red Wings 14-7.
"We were terrible in the first," Zetterberg said
Zibanejad's goal accounted for all of New York's offense, and the Rangers have alternated wins and losses through their first four games.
Their lead could have been larger as Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei had shots that hit goal posts late in the first, and Michael Grabner, Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello all misfired on quality scoring chances in the first three minutes of the second period.
"We hit a hot goaltender," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We had five or six breakaways we were unable to finish. Give him credit."
New York's inability to convert and Howard's play proved costly when Vanek tied the game 6:15 into the second with a power-play goal.
The game remained tied until 59 seconds into the third period. Luke Glendening's forecheck forced Henrik Lundqvist into committing a turnover behind his net, and Miller fired a shot into the net before the New York goaltender could fully recover for his first goal of the season.
"It came down to that play where I find our `D' on the backside. It happens," said Lundqvist, who, made 16 saves on 18 shots. Lundqvist later added he "made a bad read there behind the net but I'm not going to stop going behind the net (because) I think I help the `D' a lot with the way I play the puck."
Jester Fast appeared to tie the game with 3:38 left in regulation by redirecting Kevin Klein's shot from the point, but the goal was immediately disallowed as the New York wing had played it with a high stick.
New York D Dan Girardi (strained groin) and LW Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) each missed their second straight game with injuries, while Rangers D Kevin Klein dressed for the first time this season. He did not play in the Rangers' first three games due to back spasms. New York also scratched D Dylan McIlrath. ... The Red Wings scratched D Ryan Sproul and C Steve Ott. ... McDonagh's wife Kaylee gave birth to the couple's first child Tuesday, daughter Falan Erin. ... Among the 18,006 in attendance were New York Mets P Noah Syndergaard and documentarian Morgan Spurlock.
RED WINGS: Detroit hosts Nashville on Friday night.
RANGERS: New York is off until Saturday, when it visits Washington.