The Rangers' season-high five-game road trip didn't begin as planned.
After two great saves by Cam Talbot on a four-on-three power play, Marek Zidlicky chipped the puck past Talbot in a scramble at 1:09 of overtime as the Red Wings edged the Blueshirts, 2-1, at Joe Louis Arena.
It was Zidlicky's debut for the Wings, who acquired the defenseman from the Devils on Monday.
With 46.2 left in regulation, Derek Stepan was called for holding Gustav Nyquist, and with Derick Brassard and Justin Abdelkader already serving penalties, it was a four-on-three. Talbot gloved a blast by Niklas Kronwall with 10.4 left, but the Wings finished it in overtime with four seconds left on the man-advantage.
But with the point, their 85th, the Rangers (39-17-7) again moved into a tie for first place with the Islanders in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers have two games in hand.
The goalies took center stage: Howard finished with 39 saves' Talbot made 29 saves, including all 12 shots he faced in the third.
The Red Wings (83 points) are on pace to make the NHL playoffs for the 24th consecutive season. But by the end of the second period, the Rangers had attempted, including blocks and misses, 44 shots, almost twice as many as the Wings (23).
In the third, the Wings dominated the first five minutes, and in one segment, J.T. Miller, after a horrendous turnover, came back to save a goal. At 5:57, Keith Yandle hooked Tomas Tatar driving to the net, setting up the NHL's No. 1 power play. The Rangers killed it, and turned the pressure on Howard, who made three saves, one on Nash, who had scored in each of the last two games against the Wings.
Danny DeKeyser took down Marty St. Louis with 7:01 left, and the Rangers had their third power play, but they could not convert.
Talbot is now 9-2-3 since taking over between the pipes while Henrik Lundqvist recovers from a vascular injury.
In a spirited second period, in which the Rangers outshot the Wings 16-7, the teams traded surges, with different lines controlling the puck in the offensive zones on shifts, but neither team could score.
Each team, especially the Rangers, was quick to collapse in the slot, clogging the middle and denying shots to get through to Talbot and Howard. The best scoring opportunity for the Blueshirts came when Marc Staal hit the post from the left circle on a feed from Kevin Hayes.
In the first period, on a good shift by the fourth line with Dom Moore and Jimmy Sheppard, in his Rangers debut, Jesper Fast drew a holding penalty on Zidlicky behind the Wings net at 15:15, and on their second power play, the Rangers tied the score.
Dan Boyle's point shot deflected to Nash, who tossed the puck toward the net, where Brassard was creating traffic. Dan Girardi, playing the point, came to the crease and made a diving poke while his was stick extended. The puck glanced off Kyle Quincey's stick and past Howard at 17:02. Nash and Brassard were credited with assists.
The Red Wings opened the scoring at 6:12. Talbot tracked Henrik Zetterberg, crossing in front, to his left, but the center slid the puck back to Justin Abdelkader for a gimme. Talbot prevented a two-goal lead when he extended his right pad to the post to deny two up-close shots by Jurco at 14:05.
The Wings had collected three points in the previous two meetings with the Blueshirts this season, winning 3-2 on Dec. 6 here, and dropping a 4-3 overtime game in New York on Nov. 5. Ten of the last 13 games between the teams had been decided by a goal, dating to Dec, 21, 2002.