NEW YORK, N.Y. – Marian Gaborik had a goal and assist in New York’s three-goal first period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves in going the distance to lead the Rangers to a 5-1 pre-season victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
Gaborik, who led the team with 42 goals and 86 points in his first season with New York, put the Rangers ahead 1-0 just one minute in with his third goal. He also helped set up defenceman Mike Sauer’s first goal that made it 3-0 with 58.1 seconds remaining in the frame.
Sean Avery also scored in the spurt against beleaguered Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who stopped only five of eight shots in the first period. Howard, a finalist last season for NHL rookie of the year, dropped to 2-1. He made 18 saves last Sunday in the Red Wings’ 5-3 victory over New York in the first half of the home-and-home exhibition series and followed it with a 21-save performance in the rematch.
Rookie hopeful Derek Stepan and defenceman Michael Del Zotto added goals in the third period to turn it into a Rangers rout.
Red Wings defenceman Brian Rafalski, who had a goal and three assists against the Rangers on Sunday, scored his second of the pre-season during a power play to cut Detroit’s deficit to 3-1. Rafalski fired a shot from the centre of the blue-line that appeared to deflect off Rangers defenceman Michal Rozsival before finding its way past Lundqvist at 8:21 of the second.
Lundqvist made 13 saves in the middle period.
While the Rangers dressed many of their top-flight players, the Red Wings put out a lineup that hardly represented the talent the makes them a championship contender in the Western Conference. Stars such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg all had the night off.
Stepan stretched the Rangers’ lead to 4-1 at 1:38 of the third, and Del Zotto pushed it to a four-goal edge at 7:34. Ruslan Fedotenko had two assists.
Gaborik got the offence going early when he scored from the top of the left circle off a feed from Rozsival during a power play. Avery made it 2-0 at 4:39 when he snapped off a shot, from the same circle, that passed through a screen and beat Howard for his second goal.
Sauer recorded his first point in three games with a goal in the final minute. Gaborik earned the second assist after blocking a shot in the defensive zone. He has four points in three games.