- Associated Press - Thursday, January 16, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The only shot the New York Rangers put past Detroit’s Jimmy Howard was actually meant to be a pass.

Mats Zuccarello had no complaints when the puck found its way into the net.

Zuccarello broke up a scoreless duel between two Olympic goalies with 5:58 remaining, lifting the Rangers to a 1-0 victory over the Red Wings on Thursday night.

“It was a pass to (Benoit) Pouliot,” Zuccarello said. “It was a lucky bounce, I guess. I will take that.”


Zuccarello floated a puck over Howard when he drove to the net, putting New York’s 45th shot of the night into the net.

Howard recognized Zuccarello’s intention, he just couldn’t stop it.

“Bittersweet,” Howard said of his 47-save performance. “Zuccarello wasn’t looking to shoot that. He was looking to pass it across. It’s unfortunate.”

It was just enough offense for Henrik Lundqvist to earn his third shutout of the season and 48th in his NHL career. Lundqvist, who made his sixth straight start, stopped 38 shots.

Gustav Nyquist slipped a shot behind him with 44.5 seconds remaining, but Lundqvist reached back and covered the puck just in time.

“You kind of wait for a reaction when you hear it hits the post, but then you don’t get a reaction, so you know it’s behind you somewhere,” Lundqvist said. “You don’t want to make too big of a move, so I just turned around, and it was right there. It’s fun when you get some puck luck. Maybe I earned it after a few tough bounces.”

The Red Wings were beaten 1-0 for the second straight game. Detroit, which hasn’t scored a power-play goal in six games in 2014, lost at Anaheim on Sunday.

“It’s frustrating right now,” Howard said. “We have to score more goals. We are creating a lot of chances, we just can’t bear down and get them in right now.

“It was fun. It was like the playoffs. But it’s a lot more fun to be on the winning side.”

The Rangers bounced back from a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday and completed a 3-1 homestand. New York is 9-3-1 in its last 13 games.

“This was important for us, to come back right away with a win and a strong effort,” Lundqvist said.

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