Matt Luff and Pius Suter scored in the second period as Detroit came back after trailing 2-0 in the first period. Moritz Seider had two assists and Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 27 shots in the Red Wings' third straight win.
“I feel good about where my game is at,'' Nedeljkovic said. ”When you beat good teams, it's huge."
“I like that we didn’t get away from our game despite being down 2-0 after the first,″ Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. ”We showed some maturity in not forcing it, not chasing it ... Guys are getting rewarded.”
In the extra period, the Red Wings went on the power play when Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller was called for holding the stick at 1:44. Kubalik took advantage nearly a minute later, scoring his sixth goal of the season. He's tied with Dylan Larkin for the team lead with 15 points.
“We deserved this. We earned it,'' said Kubalik, who joined the Red Wings as a free agent after three seasons with Chicago. ”We're happy to get the win ... Every day at practice I feel more and more comfortable. I'm just happy."
Halak smashed and broke his stick against the post to his left in frustration after the winning goal.
The 37-year-old had made a stick save on Kubalik in alone on left wing with four minutes left in the third, and then denied Filip Hronek's point-blank in the final minute of regulation to force overtime.
“It's tough to get a PK overtime. It's 4-on-3 and they have their best players out there,'' Halak said. "They have skill and can make plays. That's what happened.”
Kakko opened the scoring at 9:14 of the first, whipping the puck past Nedeljkovic for his third of the season and his first since Oct. 17. Chris Kreider got his 200th career assist on the play, becoming the 16th player from the 2009 draft class to reach that milestone.
Zibanejad made it 2-0 on the power-play with 3:04 left, on a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Artemi Panarin past Nedeljkovic from his customary spot in the left circle. Panarin, who leads the Rangers with 17 points, has points in seven of his last eight games. Zibanejad has points in five straight games.
Rangers captain Jacob Trouba expressed frustration with his team's inability to sustain pressure on Detroit after a strong first period.
“We have to find a way to play a full game,'' Trouba said. ”You can't play two periods in this league."
Luff got the Red Wings on the scoreboard at 2:56 of the second as he tipped Ben Chiarot’s shot past Halak.
Suter tied it at 8:37, taking advantage of lax defense by the Rangers in front of Halak. He scored his third from in front.
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant shuffled lines in the third after his team’s subpar performance in the second.
“Just trying to shake things up a little bit,″ Gallant said. ”Seeing if we can wake a few guys up.”
Halak made eight stops in the third and four in overtime before Kubalik's winner.
“He gave us a chance to win, we couldn't take advantage of it,” Zibanejad said. “It's disappointing.”
Former Rangers forward Andrew Copp returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time since signing with a five-year contract with Detroit in the offseason . He had eight goals and 18 points in 16 games with New York after he was acquired from Winnipeg last March, then added six goals and eight assists in 20 playoff contests during the Rangers' run to the 2022 Eastern Conference finals.
Rangers forward Filip Chytil returned after missing six games with a suspected concussion.
Red Wings: Host Montreal on Tuesday night.
Rangers: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Allan Kreda, The Associated Press