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Rangers Score Late to Top Stars, 3-2

Friday, 01.10.2014 / 11:40 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Rangers Score Late to Top Stars, 3-2
The Dallas Stars played better Friday night at Madison Square Garden, but it didn\u2019t add up to a victory. The Stars\u2019 losing streak hit five games as they fell to the New York Rangers, 3-2, in the final minutes.

The Dallas Stars played better Friday night at Madison Square Garden, but it didn’t add up to a victory. The Stars’ losing streak hit five games as they fell to the New York Rangers, 3-2, in the final minutes.

“I thought for the majority of the game we played well enough to win,” said Stars center Cody Eakin, who had a goal and an assist in the game. “We took in some water at the end of the second, had some good chances in the third. Our goalie, Kari [Lehtonen] was huge for us as always. We didn’t finish with the result we wanted.”

Rangers forward Rick Nash snapped a 2-2 tie, scoring off a rebound as he was falling to give the Rangers the victory.

“We had a couple pretty good looks in the third, we missed a couple tight. They got a little bit of a bounce, one went off a skate and as Nash is falling he got enough of it to put it away,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought we skated better. We created a little more and we were better with the puck. We’ve still got a ways to go though. There are still some turnovers that are giving up some good possession.”

The Stars (20-17-7) have lost some ground during their five-game slide, falling to six points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It’s not good. We were right up there before this streak,” said Eakin. “Our backs are kind of up against the wall and there’s only one way out and that is hard work.”

The Stars got a big night from the line of Eakin (one goal, one assist), Ryan Garbutt (one goal, one assist) and Antoine Roussel (one assist).

“They were fabulous,” said Ruff.

Lehtonen turned in another stellar performance for the Stars, stopping 31 of 34 shots.

The Rangers ran their points streak to four games (3-0-1), won for the fifth time in the last seven games (5-1-1) and improved to 8-3-2 in their last 13 contests.

“We had a huge win in the last game [at] Chicago and we knew it didn’t mean much if we didn’t win tonight,” Nash said on MSG Network. “It was a huge game to come home and win.”

The Rangers had some pressure early in the game, but Lehtonen was sharp. He had a superb save on a Ryan Callahan bid to keep the Rangers from getting the early lead.

The Stars grabbed the lead at the 4:06 mark when Garbutt won a race to a puck in the New York end and backhanded the puck to Eakin, who put the puck through Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist from the bottom of the right circle to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers tied the game at the 8:40 mark. After the Stars turned over the puck in the neutral zone, Brad Richards had a shot blocked, grabbed the rebound and set up Callahan, who scored from the left circle.

The Stars got the lead back early in the second, cashing in on an odd-man rush when Roussel set up Garbutt, who made a nifty play to knock down the puck and then put it past Lundqvist to put the Stars up 2-1 at 3:34 of the second.

The Rangers had some good looks after that. Derek Stepan fanned on a wide open look from the slot, Nash shot wide on a breakaway and Richards rang a shot off the crossbar from the right circle. The Rangers then went on the game’s first power play and got the equalizer. Derick Brassard redirected a Mats Zuccarello pass by Lehtonen at 8:22 of the second to make it a 2-2 game.

The Rangers had some pressure late in the second, but Lehtonen came up with some sharp saves, including a nice stop on a Benoit Pouliot redirection to keep it a tie game heading into the third period.

New York had a power play, which included 1:06 of four-on-three time, early in the second, but the Stars were able to kill it off.

Both teams came close with shots going off posts. New York defenseman John Moore hit the post on a shot from the point at 4:30 the mark. Eakin hit the post with a blast from the slot off the rush at the 8:00 mark.

The Stars went on their first power play of the game with 8:30 left in the third, but couldn’t get a shot on goal.

Tyler Seguin came close with 2:20 left, just missing on a redirection of an Eakin pass. Just 22 seconds later, a falling Nash knocked home the rebound of a Chris Kreider shot to give New York the win.

“I just happened to stop, get to the inside and shoot it in as I was falling down,” Nash said. “It was a little bit of luck, but we’ll take it in the last few minutes.”

It was a tough way to lose for the Stars, but Ruff saw some progress.

“We were a lot better tonight. We were really bad on the Island (vs. Islanders Monday). We were better in Jersey (vs. Devils Thursday). We were better again tonight,” Ruff said. “On the bench the guys are putting pressure on each other to take care of the puck. As soon as you get peer pressure and guys are talking about getting pucks deep and taking care of the puck in some tough situations, we’ll start to win again.”

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 62 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 62 15 37 -3 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 59 16 16 -9 32
J. Klingberg 48 10 22 2 32
C. Eakin 59 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 56 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 62 2 24 2 26
A. Roussel 60 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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