|NYR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|DAL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||10|
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Facing an opponent that has been playing dominant hockey on home ice recently, the Rangers could not reverse the trend and dropped a 10-2 decision to the Dallas Stars on Friday night at the American Airlines Center.
With the loss, the Rangers are now winless in their last four contests, posting an 0-3-1 mark in that span. The Stars, who bounced back from a 3-2 loss on Thursday night in Colorado, are 10-1-1 in their last 12 home matches.
“This is a big loss, there’s no question about that,” said Rangers head coach Tom Renney. “But 3-2 or 10-2, a loss is a loss. The one thing we can’t do is hide behind a low-scoring game this time around. We got hammered.”
Mike Ribeiro recorded a pair of goals and added two assists for the Stars, while teammate Steve Ott had a goal and two assists. Dallas goaltender Marty Turco finished with 20 saves.
Nikolai Zherdev scored both Rangers goals.
With Henrik Lundqvist sidelined because of the flu, Stephen Valiquette made his 10th start of the season between the pipes for the Rangers. He made 29 saves, but surrendered six third-period goals to close out the match.
“I feel the worst for Vali,” said center Scott Gomez. “The guy is always there and is a great teammate, and we let him down. It’s an embarrassment.”
The 10 goals allowed by the Rangers were the most they surrendered all season. They gave up eight to the Devils back on Dec. 12, their previous low point of the year.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it,” said Rangers captain Chris Drury, who notched a pair of assists. “It was embarrassing, humiliating, and it was awful.”
Though they jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, the Rangers exited the ice after the first period of play trailing 3-1.
A great hustling effort by Zherdev put the Rangers on the board only 3:35 into the contest. Zherdev beat Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas to a loose puck behind the Stars’ net after an errant Drury shot, and then swooped around to the left side of the cage to sneak a wraparound shot past Turco for his 14th goal of the season.
Only 35 seconds later, though, a mistake by Gomez led to the game-tying goal. Deep in his own end, Gomez accepted a pass off the back wall from teammate Marc Staal and proceeded to skate directly in front of a surprised Valiquette. An alert Brian Sutherby swatted the puck off Gomez’s stick, past Valiquette, and over the goal line to even the score 1-1.
A few shifts after Sutherby’s game-tying goal, Dallas forwards Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro delivered simultaneous hard hits on Zherdev behind the Stars’ cage, leaving Zherdev dazed and crumpled on the ice. Zherdev skated off and did not miss a shift after the hits, but he did end up with a swollen and bloodied nose.
Dallas snared their first lead of the game by taking advantage of two straight Rangers penalties. With Michal Rozsival in the sin bin for a hooking minor, and Wade Redden penalized for delay of the game, the Stars had 1:09 worth of a 5-on-3 power play beginning at 13:15 of the first period.
However, Valiquette made four big saves as the Rangers killed off the two-man disadvantage. But just as Rozsival returned to the ice, Ribeiro reached behind Valiquette to tap a rebound of an Ott shot into the net for a goal, handing the Stars a 2-1 lead at 14:24.
Another turnover by Gomez led to Dallas’ third goal of the period with just over one minute remaining. This time Gomez gave the puck away to defenseman Matt Niskanen in the neutral zone which led to a rush back the other way by the Stars. Looking to center the puck from right wing, Brad Richards had his pass deflect off the skate of New York’s Erik Reitz and into the cage at 18:58, upping the Stars’ advantage to 3-1.
“We’re all embarrassed, and it starts with me,” stated Gomez. “It’s unacceptable, and we’re embarrassed the way we played. We embarrassed our fans and the organization.”
Not happy with their performance in the opening 20 minutes, the Rangers came out strong in the second period. And just 3:05 into the middle stanza, Zherdev scored again -- this time on the power play -- to cut the deficit to 3-2.
After a crisp passing sequence in the offensive zone, Rozsival whipped a pass to Zherdev, who was stationed behind the goal line on right wing. Zherdev attempted to feed the puck in front where Brandon Dubinsky was waiting, but the Rangers caught a break when the puck instead caromed off the inside of Turco’s right leg and into the net. The goal -- Zherdev’s second of the night and 15th of the season -- gave the Rangers’ leading point producer his second two-goal outing of the season.
The Rangers had many chances to tie the game throughout the second period, but Turco was strong in goal, in particular denying a pair of quality scoring chances by Gomez.
Late in the second, the Rangers were afforded their best opportunity to pull even when Dallas’
Ribeiro and Nicklas Grossman were penalized 15 seconds apart. Working with 1:45 worth of a two-man advantage, the Rangers failed to score the equalizer. Drury had the two best chances to tie the game, but he misfired a blast off the glass on a 2-on-1 rush and then moments later had his slap shot from the slot blocked by Robidas.
“As much as we needed that goal during the two-man advantage, you can’t dwell on that,” said Renney. “It’s the turning point in the game, I suppose, but at the time you can’t dwell on it because you are still trying to tie the game and then move on from there.”
At the other end of the rink, Valiquette was forced into making several sterling saves over the course of the period on Ott, Ribeiro, Mike Modano, and Joel Lundqvist. However, just when the Rangers thought they would head to the third period still trailing by only one goal, the Stars struck for a hugely important score with 1:45 left in the middle stanza.
An aggressive forecheck by Ott led to an own-zone turnover by Staal along the right-wing boards. Ribeiro collected the puck, skated in on Valiquette, and shot the puck between his pads for his second goal of the evening and 13th of the season to give Dallas a 4-2 lead.
If that goal was not disheartening enough for the Rangers then Jere Lehtinen’s tally 4:15 into the third period confirmed the visitors’ misery. Another Rangers’ turnover in the defensive zone -- this one by Drury -- led directly to Lehtinen’s sixth goal of the season -- a quick snap shot over Valiquette’s glove -- and Dallas had secured a three-goal lead.
Fabian Brunnstrom, Ott, and Daryl Sydor scored 1:10 apart midway through the third to put an embarrassing exclamation point on this loss for the Rangers. Rookie James Neal closed out the scoring with a pair of power play goals late in the game.
The Rangers need to regroup quickly because they will face the Atlantic Division-leading Devils in Newark on Monday evening before hosting the Southeast Division-leading Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
“We’ve got to get back to square one, come back to the fundamentals of playing hockey,” said Renney.
|Nikolay Zherdev (14) ASST: Chris Drury (18), Brandon Dubinsky (19)|
1 - 0 NYR
|Brian Sutherby (5) ASST: NONE|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Mike Ribeiro (12) ASST: Steve Ott (12), Jere Lehtinen (11)|
2 - 1 DAL
|Brad Richards (14) ASST: Matt Niskanen (17)|
3 - 1 DAL
|PPG - Nikolay Zherdev (15) ASST: Michal Rozsival (19), Chris Drury (19)|
3 - 2 DAL
|Mike Ribeiro (13) ASST: Steve Ott (13)|
4 - 2 DAL
|Jere Lehtinen (6) ASST: Mike Ribeiro (34)|
5 - 2 DAL
|Fabian Brunnstrom (11) ASST: Mike Modano (20), Andrew Hutchinson (3)|
6 - 2 DAL
|PPG - Steve Ott (10) ASST: Jere Lehtinen (12), Mike Ribeiro (35)|
7 - 2 DAL
|Darryl Sydor (2) ASST: Mike Modano (21), Fabian Brunnstrom (5)|
8 - 2 DAL
|PPG - James Neal (17) ASST: Darryl Sydor (9), Matt Niskanen (18)|
9 - 2 DAL
|PPG - James Neal (18) ASST: Fabian Brunnstrom (6), Matt Niskanen (19)|
10 - 2 DAL
|Michal Rozsival Hooking against Fabian Brunnstrom|
|Wade Redden Delay of game|
|Nikolay Zherdev Slashing against Brad Richards|
|Mike Modano Slashing against Fredrik Sjostrom|
|Brad Richards Tripping against Nikolay Zherdev|
|Mike Ribeiro Slashing against Brandon Dubinsky|
|Nicklas Grossmann Cross checking against Scott Gomez|
|Erik Reitz Interference against Joel Lundqvist|
|Fredrik Sjostrom Holding against Mike Ribeiro|
|Colton Orr Cross checking against James Neal|
|Colton Orr Roughing against Steve Ott|
|Colton Orr Roughing against Steve Ott|
|Steve Ott Roughing against Colton Orr|
|Colton Orr Misconduct (10 min)|
|Trevor Daley Hooking against Marc Staal|
|Brandon Dubinsky Holding against Toby Petersen|
|Brandon Dubinsky Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|SA: 39||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 29||EV: 21 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 8 - 12|
|SV%: .744||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 22||TOI: 59:39|
|Saves: 20||EV: 17 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 2|
|SV%: .909||SH: 2 - 2|