New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Lundqvist came out on top of a goaltending duel with Jimmy Howard after Mats Zuccarello scored the game's only goal with 5:58 remaining, giving the New York Rangers a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden.
Lundqvist turned away 38 shots in delivering his third shutout of the season and just getting the better of Howard, who returned from a hip flexor injury to stop 47-of-48 shots in a hard-luck defeat.
"Both guys, both Hank and Howard, had their A-game out there," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault remarked. "They were seeing the puck and controlling their rebounds. We were just fortunate to finally be able to put one past [Howard]."
The injury-plagued Red Wings were blanked for the second consecutive outing and third time in nine games, having also been dealt a 1-0 setback at Anaheim on Sunday. Things didn't get better, as Detroit announced before the contest that veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk -- who has missed the last five games -- was placed on injured reserve.
"Our team played hard," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we had good structure."
A razor-sharp Howard withstood all 35 shots he faced over the first two periods, but the Rangers finally got one past the Detroit netminder on their 45th chance of the game.
Skating in on a 3-on-2 rush, Zuccarello attempted a pass across the crease that was deflected by Red Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff and caromed underneath Howard's right arm, breaking the scoreless stalemate in the 55th minute of play.
"It was one of those [games] where a typical goal like that was going to decide the game," said Zuccarello.
Lundqvist was equally as good as his counterpart, coming through with 15 saves while helping kill off two Ranger penalties in the first period and matching Howard, who followed up an 18-stop opening frame with 17 more in the second, up until Zuccarello's go-ahead tally.
The Red Wings very nearly came up with the equalizer, though, with Howard pulled with under a minute to go.
Henrik Zetterberg won a faceoff in the New York zone and Detroit worked the puck to Gustav Nyquist, who sent a screaming shot from the point that struck the goalpost and trickled between Lundqvist's pads. The 2011-12 Vezina Trophy recipient was able to cover the puck before it crossed the goal line, however, with just 45 seconds left to play.
The shutout was the first by a Rangers goaltender against Detroit since John Davidson accomplished the feat on Nov. 27, 1976 ... Howard made 40 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to New York in Detroit on Oct. 26 ... The Red Wings went 0- for-2 on the power play and haven't scored on the man advantage in six straight, going 0-for-23 over that stretch ... Forwards Tomas Tatar (personal) and Joakim Andersson (lower body) both missed the game for Detroit, which recalled center Cory Emmerton from Grand Rapids of the AHL prior to the contest.
01/17 01:31:59 ET