By Brian Monzo
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The Rangers did nearly all the right things last night against the Dallas Stars. Brad Richards watched his new team battle his old team — and they battled, battled, battled and then battled some more.
But the end result was not to be for New York, as the Stars left MSG with a 1-0 win.
For a good portion of this game there was little to no emotion. And why would there be? The Rangers and Stars never play each other. Even coach John Tortorella said in his postgame press conference that these teams don’t have a ton of hate between them, and he is right.
The biggest story to come out of the game was Stars netminder Richard Bachman, in his second career NHL start, stopping all 34 shots for his first career shutout. The Rangers fired the puck when they could but the Stars’ ability to block shots and give the Blueshirts zero lanes was very effective. Bachman’s best save came late in the second period as Brandon Prust and Ryan McDonagh skated in a shorthanded two-on-one and Bachman was able to get the glove on McDonagh’s one-timed shot.
All the Rangers and their fans collectively sighed in relief when Henrik Lundqvist got up after shaking off a nasty rising slapshot from Sheldon Souray midway through the second period. It seemed like Marty Biron wasn’t worried, as he didn’t even start stretching on the ice.
In games like this where there is little passion, and even less room on the ice, the Rangers need to find sparks from their depth players. Brandon Prust dropped the gloves in the second period and tried to get the team going, but wasn’t successful.
This is where someone like Brandon Dubinsky needs to find his game. The struggling forward looks lost on the ice, and is in need of a rest to watch from the press box. I have no idea why Sean Avery was a healthy scratch. I understood the game against the Panthers. You want to get Erik Christensen in the lineup for the potential shootout factor. Fine. But a game like this where energy is needed, Avery needs to play.
The Rangers now gear up to head to St. Louis to battle the re-energized Blues, who under Ken Hitchcock have accelerated their game and find themselves in the playoff hunt. That will certainly be a game where the Blueshirts will need to bring their ‘A’ game, or it won’t even be ‘a game.’
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