Recap: Stars Fall to Rangers 6-2
The New York Rangers beat the Dallas Stars 6-2 at MSG on Tuesday night. The Stars' backward slide continues.
The New York Rangers hosted the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night, clubbing them 6-2.
Clearly, the Rangers had a game plan that they rammed down the Stars' throat all night: inflict a physical and fast forecheck, and block shots. When Dallas was able to find some air (mostly late in the game), a blue shirt was probably standing in the way.
John Klingberg took a physical and mental beating all night. When he wasn't getting hit, he was breaking his stick on breakout passes.
The first period was all Rangers. Shots were 16-4 in favor of New York, but that doesn't tell half of the story. In the first 7 minutes of the game, Dallas had already surrendered an even strength goal to Derek Stepan and committed 2 minor penalties.
Dallas was fortunate to survive the first 7 minutes without giving up three goals. Klingberg was able to sneak one past Henrik Lundqvist on a pretty feed from Jason Spezza, but the game was only level for 18 seconds. Keith Yandle restored the Rangers lead on a shot from the point.
Lundqvist stoned Patrick Sharp on a 2 on 1 transition play off of a blocked shot. Antti Niemi answered with a save of his own on Mats Zuccarello on a dangerous one timer from the bottom of the circle to Niemi's left. All things considered, the Stars were lucky to be within a shot at the period break.
The second frame started fast for Niemi, being called into action in the first 30 seconds of the period. Some tic-tac-toe passing by Zuccarello, Stepan, and Derick Brassard lead to a quick chance that was turned away. The Stars would get a powerplay a few minutes later, but the best chance was a breakaway by the Rangers. Niemi stood tall and kept the Rangers advantage to one goal.
Brassard opened and closed the scoring with just over 2 minutes left in the frame. The goal was probably more of a pass than a shot, but Jason Demers and Johnny Oduya accidentally made sure it went in the net. It was really poor luck for Niemi who had a solid period otherwise.
The Stars couldn't put more than two shifts together, and the powerplay was docile. The Stars did chip away at the shot differential in the second, with shots for the period closing at 10-4 Dallas. However, Lundqvist was able to make every save look routine.
Lindy Ruff jumbled the lines, and seemed to spark the team coming out of the locker room for the third period. All of that momentum was snuffed out when Stepan scored shorthanded 5 minutes into the period. The Stars' inaccuracy and Lundqvist killed the remainder of the penalty with no issues.
The wheels officially came off a few minutes later on a weird play around the net, when Viktor Stalberg slid a loose puck past a sprawled Niemi.
An alley-oop from Jason Spezza to Antoine Roussel charged the Dallas skating legs. The assist was Spezza's 500th NHL assist. He was denied his 501st a few minutes later on an offsides coaches' challenge, wiping out a would-be goal from Valeri Nichushkin.
Alas, the suspense was short lived with the Rangers scoring on another odd-man rush seconds after the review. The final shots were 29-23 Rangers.
The lashing at the hands of the Rangers had immediate consequences for a few notable Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The dynamic duo were conspicuously absent for most of the third period. The message from Ruff was likely directed at the team just as much as it was Seguin and Benn in particular.
The Stars were disjointed and lethargic tonight. The team is coming off of a busy 15 days, and the fatigue was apparent up and down the lineup.
It was a "get well" game for the Rangers and the slope is getting slippery in Dallas. Rick Nash had 3 assists and Derek Stepan had 2 goals. The Stars simply had no answer to the speed, efficiency, and determination of their opponent.
That five-day break can't come soon enough.