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At the Rink: Rangers at Stars

by Steve Hunt
DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are two days removed from their first Central Division victory, 4-3 at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, but Dallas (15-14-5) faces another tough test at American Airlines Center on Monday against the New York Rangers, winners of eight straight.

“They play a high pace. They play high-tempo. They’re what we’re trying to get to right now. We want to have eight straight too and play at a high pace,” Stars defenseman Trevor Daley said. “It’s going to be a great challenge tonight for us.”

This game features the Rangers (19-10-4), who haven’t lost since Dec. 6 at the Detroit Red Wings, and the NHL’s top two goal-scorers, New York left wing Rick Nash (23 goals, second in the League) and Dallas center Tyler Seguin (leads NHL with 25 goals).

Nash knows the Rangers must limit the quality chances for Seguin, Stars captain Jamie Benn and center Jason Spezza if they are to extend their winning streak to nine.

“For us it’s eliminating our mistakes in the neutral zone and getting pucks deep. This is a team with Benn and Seguin, Spezza. All these guys are pretty big superstars that can score, so we've got to limit our turnovers,” Nash said.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is sticking with the same forward lines and defensive pairings from a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, but with one minor exception. On the fourth line, J.T. Miller returns as the right wing alongside left wing Tanner Glass and center Dominic Moore, with right wing Jesper Fast being scratched.

“Jesper’s been playing well. He’s been doing what we want on the [penalty kill], but I just felt tonight against this team that this was the right thing to do,” Vigneault said.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was first off the ice at morning skate and will start a third consecutive game.

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from the win against the Blues. Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice and will start his ninth straight game.

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick NashDerick BrassardMats Zuccarello

Chris KreiderDerek StepanMartin St. Louis

Carl HagelinKevin HayesLee Stempniak

Tanner GlassDominic MooreJ.T. Miller

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi

Marc StaalDan Boyle

John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Jesper Fast, Matt Hunwick.

Injured: None


Jamie BennTyler SeguinColton Sceviour

Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt

Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerTravis Moen

Jyrki JokipakkaTrevor Daley

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Travis Morin, Jamie Oleksiak.

Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip).

Status report: Oleksiak will be a healthy scratch after being recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League on Monday morning. … Morin will be a healthy scratch for a second straight game.

Who’s hot: Nash has a five-game point streak and a four-game goal streak against Dallas. … Seguin has 21 points (13 goals) in his past 16 games.

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