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Rangers hand Stars fifth straight loss
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Rick Nash's goal with 1:58 remaining in the third period sent the slumping Dallas Stars to a fifth straight regulation loss, a 3-2 setback to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Ryan Callahan and Derick Brassard also tallied in the Rangers' fifth victory in seven games, with Brad Richards contributing a pair of assists and Henrik Lundqvist coming up with 24 saves in the win.
"It was a grind," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault afterward. "It was a hard game to get momentum, to get flow. The guys had to stay focused and I thought for the most part we played pretty solid."
Dallas, meanwhile, wrapped up a rough road trip through the New York metro area with its third defeat in as many outings, having fallen to the Islanders and Devils by a combined 8-3 margin to begin the trek.
"It's a great way to judge a person's character when you're dealing with adversity. We're dealing with it right now," said Stars head coach Lindy Ruff. "That's painful when you battle all game long and one goes in with two minutes left. But you've got to get over it. We've got to move on."
Kari Lehtonen recorded 31 saves in a losing cause, while Cody Eakin and Ryan Garbutt each had a goal and an assist for the Stars.
With the contest deadlocked at 2-2 and headed towards a possible overtime, Dallas' Tyler Seguin misfired over the net on a good scoring chance to set up a Rangers' rush up the ice. Lehtonen got a piece of Chris Kreider's initial attempt, but Nash was able to perfectly place the rebound into the upper left corner of the net while falling to the ice to give New York its first lead of the night.
"He is playing great," said Lundqvist of Nash. "He is so strong with the puck and that goal was huge for us to get that win at home."
The Rangers were down 2-1 midway through the second period prior to capitalizing on a penalty to the Stars' Shawn Horcoff. Just 30 seconds into the man advantage, Brassard redirected Mats Zuccarello's pass from the half wall into an open left side for the equalizer with 8:22 left in the frame.
Coming off a shutout loss in New Jersey on Friday, the Stars' offense quickly bounced back in this one. A little over four minutes after the opening face-off, Eakin raced into the slot to successfully put home a drop pass from Garbutt and give Dallas the early upper hand.
New York answered later in the first period. Richards had a shot attempt blocked in the Dallas zone, but the puck went straight to Callahan and the Rangers captain snuck it past Lehtonen's glove to even the game at 1-1.
Dallas went back on top 3:34 into the second period, with a transition rush ending with Garbutt firing a blast through Lundqvist's pads after taking in a feed from Antoine Roussel.
Richards, held without a point in his first two meetings with the Stars since leaving Dallas for the Rangers prior to the 2011-12 season, extended his point streak to four games and has notched two goals and four assists over that stretch ... Callahan's goal increased his point streak to four games as well ... Seguin, Dallas' leading scorer on the season, failed to record a point for a fourth consecutive contest ... The Rangers have now won four of the last five matchups between the clubs, including a 3-2 overtime decision in Dallas on Nov. 21.
01/11 00:09:44 ET