It was no Picasso, but it was two points for the Dallas Stars. And it was a roller coaster ride. The Stars built a four-goal lead through two periods and then had to hang on for a 7-6 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.
"Stars hockey," said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. "It seems like we've been in that situation a few times. We'd like to be better protecting the lead, but I feel a lot better getting out of here with the two points than going to overtime or blowing that one."
The Stars shook off an early goal by the Rangers to build a 3-1 lead after one period and extended it to 7-3 through 40 minutes. But New York poured it on in the third, scoring three times to cut the lead to 7-6 and outshooting the Stars 24-4, including three shots in the final five seconds.
"I wouldn't say it was our strongest game, but we came in with a fresh mindset and did what we had to do," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "After last game which we didn't have the greatest effort and a little embarrassing, we came in here and got off to a strong start. They had a couple good pushes. Obviously, they had a good third period, but we did what we had to do. We hunkered down to the end and found a way to get two points."
Sharp scored two goals in the game, Benn and Patrick Eaves both had one goal and two assists, and Cody Eakin registered a Gordie Howe hat trick with one goal, one assist, and a fight. Antoine Roussel and Adam Cracknell also scored goals. Radek Faksa and Lauri Korpikoski both had two assists.
Antti Niemi got the start in goal but was pulled in the third period after allowing six goals on 28 shots. Kari Lehtonen played the rest of the way and stopped all eleven shots he faced. The Stars snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 19-19-8 on the season.
"I'd like to see us put some games together," Sharp said. "It seems like when our backs are against the wall, and we need a win, we come out with a great effort. It would be nice to gather up some points and get back into contention because it is only going to get tougher as the season goes on."