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Cleary goal helps Red Wings sail past Rangers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dan Cleary's goal with just over two minutes remaining snapped a tie that led the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Cleary scored with 2:03 left in regulation as the puck hit veteran Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist's right pad and left skate before sliding over the goal line.

"I think it got stuck underneath me and then I moved and it went in," Lundqvist told reporters. "I knew I was in trouble when I really couldn't see it in front of me.

"It is frustrating," he added. "It is obviously a goal I need to stop."

New York, who led 1-0 on Brian Boyle's first period goal before Detroit scored the next three, lost for the fourth time in five games.

Detroit's rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard made 28 saves, which included a penalty shot by the Rangers' Ryan Callahan in the second period when New York were ahead 1-0.

"I thought I had him," Callahan said. "I did the move the way I wanted to, but he just came up with a toe save."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Howard's play earned the 25-year-old a start in Detroit's next game.

"I thought Howie was good tonight," Babcock said. "Sometimes when you're looking down at a guy who's one of the best in the world and you're a kid, and especially when you start the game and your team outshoots them 14-5 and the first real chance goes in the net, it's tough.

"But Howie mentally battled and hung in and he's going to start the next game in St. Louis."

Pavel Datsyuk leveled the score in the second period before Cleary followed with his seventh goal of the season. Both goals came on assists by Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Kris Draper added an empty netter with seven seconds remaining to give the Red Wings an insurance goal.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Ian Ransom)

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