Even though the 2008-09 season is only a few weeks old, the New York Rangers have already shown some resiliency.
The Rangers will try to again bounce back from a loss and continue their strong start Monday against the struggling Dallas Stars, in a game in which Sean Avery makes his return to Madison Square Garden.
New York (6-1-1) won five in a row to start the season - matching its franchise-best opening run of 1983-84 - before suffering its first defeat Wednesday. Two days later, the Rangers rebounded with a shootout victory over visiting Toronto.
They'll look to get right back in the win column again after Saturday's 5-4 overtime loss at Detroit.
Aaron Voros scored twice - his team-leading fourth and fifth goals - in the third period to help the Rangers erase their second two-goal deficit of the game. It wasn't enough to knock off the Red Wings, who held a 45-32 shot advantage and won on Marian Hossa goal early in OT.
"It was disappointing. It felt like we had it," said New York's Henrik Lundqvist, who made a season-high 40 saves. "Even with their chances, it felt like we outplayed them."
Lundqvist helped the Rangers kill off all 21 short-handed situations during their winning streak, but he's since allowed three power-play goals in 12 chances.
New York also failed to convert on both of its power-play opportunities Saturday and is 0-for-15 over the last three games.
In spite of their inefficiencies on special teams lately, the Rangers have been finding success with offense, as they're tied for the league lead with 22 goals.
Voros and Brandon Dubinsky lead New York with nine points, while Scott Gomez is third with seven. Gomez and Dubinsky each contributed two assists Saturday as New York gained its NHL-best 13th point.
"We got a point out of it," Gomez said. "And the way the league is now, that point might go a long way."
The Rangers are off to the fast start despite the offseason departure of Avery, whose ability to irritate opponents as well as produce offensively brought New York an added dimension after he was acquired from Los Angeles in February 2007. Unable to agree to terms with the Rangers on a new contract, the forward signed a four-year, $15.5 million deal with the Stars in July.
Rangers coach Tom Renney refused to make Avery - who recorded 23 goals, 30 assists and 212 penalty minutes in 86 games with New York - the focus of Monday's contest.
"As a team we are talking about facing the Dallas Stars because it's all about how they play as a team," Renney told the Rangers' official Web site. "(Sean) is a component of that, obviously, but it really doesn't matter who is wearing the jersey. We have to beat the team."
Avery has two assists and 27 penalty minutes in five games this season.
New York will try to focus on adding to its league-best point total in the finale of a seven-game, 11-day stretch against a Dallas club that's off to another sluggish start.
The Stars (1-3-1) opened 2-2-2 last season and fired general manager Doug Armstrong after mustering seven wins in the first 17 games. Dallas hasn't been much better in the early going this season, dropping back-to-back contests following its first win.
Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards scored in the third period Saturday as the Stars cut Colorado's lead to one, but Brenden Morrow's potential tying goal with 7:31 remaining was disallowed after a review and the Avalanche went on to win 5-4.
The loss was more a result of the Stars' continuing defensive problems, as they've allowed 11 goals in the last two games and 23 on the season. They yielded 204 last season, sixth-fewest in the league, but No. 1 goaltender Marty Turco has seen his goals-against average balloon to 4.70 in 2008-09 after he posted a 2.31 GAA last season.
"If you have to score six to win, you're in trouble," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "Losing is losing, but when you give up five a night, that goes against everything I believe in."
Tippett's club will try for its first road victory during a three-game trip through the Atlantic Division.
Dallas has won three of its last five at MSG, including a 3-2 victory Nov. 25. Turco didn't play in that game, but is 1-1-0 with one tie and a 1.96 GAA in three starts versus the Rangers.
Lundqvist is 1-1 with a 2.52 GAA against Dallas.