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Rangers return home to face Stars
(SportsNetwork.com) - If the New York Rangers need to find some confidence, they need to look no further than their most recent road effort.
The Rangers will try to get on a roll during an upcoming stretch of home games, a span that begins on Friday night versus the Dallas Stars.
New York will play four straight and seven of its next eight at home, where it is 8-10-3 this season. The Rangers hit the ice just two nights after picking up a 3-2 victory in Chicago over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, one that saw the Blueshirts start and finish strong following a second-period hiccup.
Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello scored in the first period for New York, but Chicago countered with a pair of second-period tallies to even the game. It stayed deadlocked until Carl Hagelin lit the lamp with 5:57 remaining in the game to give the Rangers their 12th victory in their last 16 on the road.
Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves as New York improved to 6-2-1 in its last nine games overall.
"Beating the Stanley Cup champions in this building is not an easy task," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault. "We knew it would take our best effort, and it did."
Richards, Hagelin and Zuccarello all joined Chris Kreider for the team lead with 11 goals, while Richards, who assisted on Hagelin's winner, and Zuccarello are tops on the club with 31 points.
Lundqvist is likely to draw the start tonight and has a 1.99 goals against average in seven career starts versus the Stars with a 4-3-0 record. He made 41 saves in a 3-2 road win over Dallas on Nov. 21, stopping all 23 shots he faced in the first period.
Kreider and John Moore scored 37 seconds apart early in the third period to lift the Rangers, who have won three of their last four versus the Stars.
Dallas has yet to win in January, opening the month with a season-high four- game losing streak, getting outscored 19-8 in that span. The Stars were shut out for the first time this season last night, falling 1-0 in New Jersey.
It was a better defensive effort than the one displayed in a 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday to begin a three-game trip that ends tonight, with Kari Lehtonen bouncing back with 33 saves.
He had allowed all seven goals versus the Islanders, but yielded only Michael Ryder's second-period marker on Thursday.
"We gave them a lot of chances in the second period," Dallas center Tyler Seguin said. "It wasn't very good at all."
Dallas is on its longest losing streak since ending last season with five straight losses and fell to 1-5-1 in its last seven games versus the Eastern Conference.
Lehtonen made 24 saves in the earlier loss to the Rangers, falling to 5-4-1 with a 2.59 GAA versus the club. Backup Dan Ellis is 3-2-2 with a 2.63 GAA in seven career starts against the Rangers.
01/10 11:03:17 ET