NEW YORK - Sean Avery exacted revenge on the Dallas Stars a year after they dumped him, scoring a goal and setting up three others in the New York Rangers' 5-2 victory Wednesday night.
Avery's stay with the Stars lasted only 23 games into a US$15.5 million, four-year contract that he signed before last season after leaving the Rangers. The agitating forward quickly wore out his welcome in Dallas, and was suspended by the NHL in December after making crude comments about his former girlfriends dating other players. He never again played for the Stars, who waived him in February.
Avery was claimed three days later by the Rangers, with whom he finished the season after a minor league stint.
After Brad Richards staked Dallas to a 1-0 lead 2:17 in, Avery tied it 1:46 later with his first goal in 20 games during a power play. He assisted on goals by Marian Gaborik, Ales Kotalik and captain Chris Drury to help the Rangers win their second straight at home after a 1-5-3 skid there.
Avery hadn't had as many as three points in a game since April 1, 2007. Four points matched a career high.
New York, outshot 27-25, is 7-1-2 in its last 10 overall. Ryan Callahan's empty-net goal made it 5-2 with 1:05 left
Jere Lehtinen lifted Dallas into a 2-2 tie in the second period. The Stars have dropped three straight.
Avery drew great attention throughout the game, and initiated skirmishes and discussions after the whistle. He occupied the seat closest to the partition that separated the team benches and continued talking to the Stars from there.
He got into trouble with the referees after assisting on Ales Kotalik's go-ahead goal at 8:23 of the second period. Avery went well out of his way to shove Lehtinen and was given a 10-minute misconduct. Then he was called for cross-checking Tom Wandell early in the third period, but the Rangers killed that power play.
Avery had earlier confrontations with defenceman Nicklas Grossman, goalie Marty Turco, Richards and Dallas captain Brenden Morrow. Several Stars, including Turco and Mike Modano, were critical of Avery at the time of his suspension that led to his departure from Dallas, and that anger still seemed present.
Following Drury's tip-in of Avery's shot 8:57 into the third, Avery was knocked down in the slot by Jamie Benn just as he was about to celebrate with his teammates.
Richards made it 1-0 when he pass attempt to Lehtinen hit diving defenceman Marc Staal in front and caromed in off the skate of goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Gaborik gave the Rangers their first lead when he scored his NHL-leading 28th goal with 4:13 left in the first. Lehtinen tied it at 2 just 2:07 into the second when his drive hit the blade of Drury's stick and sailed past the unsuspecting Lundqvist.
Kotalik, who went 21 games without a goal before scoring in the Rangers' 3-2 win over Boston on Monday, found the net again with a slap shot from the right point to make it 3-2 at 8:23 of the second.
NOTES: Avery's other four-point game was March 17, 2007, versus Boston. He hadn't scored since Nov. 23. ... Dallas C Mike Ribeiro was accidentally hit in the throat by New York's Christopher Higgins during a second-period collision at centre ice. Higgins, who didn't see Ribeiro as they crossed paths, received a high-sticking penalty. Ribeiro left the game and didn't return. ... The teams combined to go 1 for 12 on the power play. ... Rangers C Brandon Dubinsky played in his 200th NHL game.