The Red Wings have surged into the playoff picture with seven wins in eight games, giving them a chance to earn a wild card and end a seven-year postseason drought.
Vincent Trocheck pulled New York into a 1-all tie shortly before Zadina scored, but the Rangers didn’t make enough plays at both ends of the ice to slow down one of the NHL’s hottest teams.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 19 shots for the Rangers, whose spot in the playoffs seems secure as the Metropolitan’s third-place team with a relatively comfortable lead over the Islanders and the rest of the division. The Rangers, though, have lost three consecutive games after winning seven in a row.
Coming off a 4-1 road trip that made Detroit’s playoff hopes realistic, Andrew Copp broke a scoreless tie late in the first period to fire up fans desperate for the franchise to be relevant again. Trocheck quieted the crowd with his goal, but Zadina energized the arena again 1:12 later by restoring the lead in the second period.
Michael Rasmussen put the Red Wings ahead 3-1 late in the second, and Filip Hronek took advantage of a power play early in the third period for a three-goal lead.
Copp had a goal and two assists against his former team. He was acquired by the Rangers from Winnipeg last season and helped them reach the Eastern Conference finals.
With 8:15 left, every skater on the ice crammed into a corner after Rasmussen checked Artemi Panarin into the boards and Adam Fox responded by hitting Rasmussen in the back.
After the scrums subsided and just after Detroit killed off a power play, another fight broke out with New York’s Alexis Lafreniere going after Jake Walman following his clean check against Trocheck.
There was a moment of silence and Little Caesars Arena was dimmed with green lights before the game, honoring the three Michigan State students killed and five students hospitalized after last week’s shootings on campus.
Rangers: Play at Washington on Saturday.
Red Wings: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.