With Henrik Lundqvist out and the team coming off a loss, the captain, Ryan McDonagh, stepped up for his New York Rangers in Detroit.

In 1994, when the chips were down and everybody in that locker room hated Mike Keenan, the New York Rangers desperately needed a leader.

They found it in Mark Messier

When they woke up and took one glance at the back pages, that word of “guarantee” lit up the room. The captain made his mark and it worked like a charm. The Blueshirts won six of the next nine postseason games and took home the Stanley Cup.

Twelve years and how many months later, the Rangers current captain, Ryan McDonagh, just pulled his own version of leadership wizardry. (Albeit, to a far lesser degree.)

Alain Vigneault‘s version of the New York Rangers at this current point in time is one feeling the loss of many players, including Henrik Lundqvist who will be sidelined for the next three or so weeks with a lower-body injury. Coming off a loss to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes three nights ago, New York took its act to Joe Louis Arena, a usual place of horrors for the Rangers.

McDonagh scored two goals en route to a dominating 4-1 victory on Sunday.

With just 27 seconds to go in the opening frame, the captain scored his fourth of the season via the shorthanded variety:

Then, after the Wings had tied the game, the captain found himself near the opposing goal again, adding his second of the game and the eventual game-winner:

Kevin Hayes and Derek Stepan (yes, the same Stepan who hadn’t scored in a few decades) added the last two goals. Hayes’s came via a beautiful pass by J.T. Miller and just 37 seconds after McDonagh’s second:

Antti Raanta, who’s now the man with The King sidelined, stopped 23 of the 24 shots he was tasked with. The Rangers managed 31 shots on Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek, who could only stop 27. 

CHECK OUT Elite Sports Radio: Real Talk Rangers Podcast

The lone goal scorer from Detroit came in the form of Frans Nielsen, the ex-Islander.

From the get-go, New York controlled the tempo and pace of the game. For the most part, the defensive structure remained intact, but, offensively, Vigneault‘s boys let it flow. Adding Rick Nash and Michael Grabner back to the lineup helped matters significantly.

Now sitting with a cool 90 points on the season, the Rangers will next welcome in the Tampa Bay Lightning for a quick turnaround. They’ll be squaring off at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

 NEXT: Antti Raanta Takes the Reins on Real Talk Rangers (Audio) 


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Founder of Elite Sports NY — Formerly of FanSided — Jets, Rangers, Knicks, Yankees, Mets, Giants — Former strong safety, point guard, and 400-meter hustler. Has interviewed the likes of Rob Dyrdek, Michael Waltrip, and Dominique Wilkins and has seen his work shared by major publications such as Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, and Yardbarker.

Born as a New York Sports Fan, something unexplainable in his blood that’ll never be shaken. Remembers the Kevin Maas days, the Yankees on MSG, the Bruce Coslet era, and the Spring of ’94.

E-Mail: robsabo10@elitesportsny.com