After a crushing defeat against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, the New York Rangers rebounded this evening with a huge 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. The Rangers were far and away the better team and dominated Dallas throughout most of the game. Mika Zibanejad added his 40th goal of the season, while Kaapo Kakko finally got his confidence going with two goals of his own. Igor Shesterkin also bounced back nicely after picking up just his second loss of the season, and turned away 31 of the 33 shots he faced.
Adam Fox (8) - Artemi Panarin (62) - 0:19 1st Period
The Rangers wasted no time jumping out to an early lead in this game as Adam Fox gave New York a 1-0 lead just 19 seconds after the opening faceoff. Artemi Panarin did an excellent job of pulling up at the blue line, surveying the open ice and finding Fox right through the middle of the slot. While Dallas had all of their attention shifted to Panarin, Fox was able to slip through and beat Ben Bishop with a quick wrist shot.
Mika Zibanejad (40) - Brendan Lemieux (12) & Pavel Buchnevich (30) - 10:12 1st Period
A little under 10 minutes later, Mika Zibanejad continued his incredible scoring streak and became the first player in franchise history to reach 40 goals in 56 games or fewer. After forcing a turnover at the blue, Zibanejad was able to skate the puck into open ice and defer a pass over to Brendan Lemieux entering the zone. Lemieux made a great power move to the outside, and passed back to Zibanejad while going against his momentum. The pass was placed perfectly for Mika, who fired a quick one-timer and gave New York a big 2-0 lead on the road.
Kaapo Kakko (9) - Brett Howden (10) & Jesper Fast (17) - 7:03 2nd Period
Kaapo Kakko has definitely been playing much better as of late, and he was finally rewarded tonight with a pair of goals. Just seven minutes into the second period, the line of Kakko, Brett Howden and Jesper Fast connected on a nice little passing play after forcing a turnover. Kakko capped the play off with a blistering one-timer on a pass from Brett Howden and the Rangers jumped out to a commanding three-goal lead.
Kaapo Kakko (10) - Mika Zibanejad (34) & Adam Fox (32) - 17:18 2nd Period
Kakko wouldn’t stop just there though, and added his second goal of the game near the end of the second period. The Rangers went with all sorts of different line combinations after Filip Chytil left the game with an injury, and Kakko wound up being paired with Mika Zibanejad. The combination obviously worked wonders for the 19-year old as Zibanejad set him up with a great pass off to the right of Ben Bishop. The incredible move in close by Kakko faked Bishop out of his shorts, and he buried his 10th of the season to make it a 4-0 game.
Roope Hintz (19) PPG - Miro Heiskanen (26) & Corey Perry (16) - 1:23 3rd Period
It was only a matter of time before Dallas made their push after being dominated most of the game, and that push came during the third period. Just a minute into the final frame, Dallas converted on their third power play opportunity of the game and Roope Hintz brought the Stars back within a pair. A rebound in the crease caused some havoc, and Miro Heiskanen was able to find Hintz all alone in front after collecting the puck.
Andrew Cogliano (3) - Miro Heiskanen (27) & Joe Pavelski (17) - 11:52 3rd Period
Just past the halfway mark of the third period, Dallas made things interesting as Andrew Cogliano made it a 4-2 game. Dallas was able to make the Rangers pay after moving the puck up the ice cleanly and generating a quick shot towards Igor Shesterkin. Unfortunately, Shesterkin was unable to hold onto the puck and the rebound popped right out to Andrew Cogliano at the right post.
Aside from the late push by the Stars, the Rangers controlled most of the game and at times, in pretty convincing fashion. The loss to the Devils certainly stung, but New York was able to right the ship with a dominating performance to begin their road trip. Following tonight’s big win, the Rangers will head right to Colorado for a meeting tomorrow night against the Colorado Avalanche.