NEW YORK -- That captain Jamie Benn and top scorer Tyler Seguin have carried the Dallas Stars offense this season is no secret. The pair's 36 combined goals account for 30 percent of the Stars' 120 non-shootout goals. That's a lot of accountability for two young players.
But with Dallas taking a four-game losing streak into its game Friday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the pair is looking to help provide a spark for a team that has four goals in its past three games, including a 1-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.
"Throughout the year you're going to go through your ups and downs and your adversity here and there," Benn said. "We've hit that point right now. Things aren't going the way we want. It's about sticking together and getting through it as a team and finding a way to get out of it."
The high-scoring duo has combined for one goal and no assists in the past three games. So with a three-game road swing through the New York/New Jersey area concluding Friday, they want to recapture their scoring touch.
"My job is to produce and get the goals when we can't find a way," Seguin said. "I look at myself in the mirror. Last game, losing 1-0, you just need one goal. It's on me as well. That's a good thing about back-to-back [games]. If you lose the first one you can bounce right back."
The Stars took the unusual step of sandwiching a skate Friday morning between the back-to-back games. It was a move coach Lindy Ruff turned to in order to "wake up the brain." His hope is that the extra time on the ice might invigorate his desperate team.
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen did not participate in the skate, likely meaning he will start again after stopping 33 shots in the loss Thursday in Newark. Forward Antoine Roussel and defenseman Aaron Rome also will be inserted back in the Dallas lineup.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are coming off one of their biggest wins of the season, a 3-2 road victory against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. But by Friday morning the players already had moved on, especially after engine trouble on their plane home from Chicago forced them to get back late to New York.
"We're not in the position to savor wins," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We had a long flight back and a late night to get in and had to recover. Right back at it this morning. It's about stringing wins together here and getting points. We're not in a position to go into cruise control at all."
The Rangers will ice the same lineup that won in Chicago, meaning Henrik Lundqvist will get the start in net and recent acquisition Daniel Carcillo will make his second appearance as a Ranger.
Here are the projected lines for the Stars and Rangers:
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Rich Peverley
Erik Cole - Cody Eakin - Valeri Nichushkin
Ray Whitney - Alex Chiasson - Vernon Fiddler
Antoine Roussel - Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Garbutt
Trevor Daley - Alex Goligoski
Brenden Dillon - Jordie Benn
Aaron Rome - Sergei Gonchar
Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Dustin Jeffrey
Injured: Stephane Robidas (broken leg)
Rick Nash - Derek Stepan - Chris Kreider
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Daniel Carcillo - Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore
Dan Girardi - Ryan McDonagh
Anton Stralman - Marc Staal
Michael Del Zotto - John Moore
Scratched: Justin Falk, J.T. Miller
Injured: Derek Dorsett (broken fibula)