Rangers See Stars in Third Period Meltdown

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

I guess you could say the Rangers were due for one of these.

Dallas Stars scored six unanswered goals, including five in the third period as they handed the Rangers a 6-3 loss at American Airlines Center last night. The Rangers had their four game winning streak and their 11-game points streak snapped as they suffered a regulation loss for the first time in 12 games.

You lose a hockey game, you’re disappointed, you wanna be better especially when you have a lead,” Coach Peter Laviolette said after the Rangers suffered their first regulation loss since October 19th vs. Nashville at the Garden. “That’s the frustrating part of it.”

Vincent Trocheck, Kappo Kakko and Barclay Goodrow scored the Ranger goals. Artemi Panarin was shutout on the score sheet for the first time so his 15 game point scoring streak to start the season came to an end.

Stars back up goaltender Scott Wedgewood made 30 saves including some huge stops early in the third period and that enabled Dallas to impose their will on the game in a dominant third period. Igor Shesterkin made 30 saves but there were a couple of times when his inability to control the puck was costly.

The Rangers were leading 2-1 after two, but early in the third, Dallas began their barrage. “In the third, they created some chances and they scored,” Mika Zibanejad said. “Just a tough loss.”

In the opening seconds of the third period, Chris Kreider was denied by Wedgewood on a prime scoring chance. “I think we had three chances on one shift, he [Wedgewood] comes up big,” said Zibanejad, who has not scored a goal in his last seven games and has one point in his last eight.

Less than a minute later, Joe Pavelski fired a loose puck into an open net to tie the game at the 1:01 mark of the third period.

Stars were on the power play when Mason Marchment appeared to score the go ahead goal.

Wyatt Johnston took the shot from the left face off circle and Shesterkin made the save but didn’t control it and it was poked in but was initially ruled no goal. Dallas challenged, what was called goaltender interference and it was ruled a good goal for Marchment to give the Stars a 3-2 lead at 7:06 of the third period.

Just 1:18 later, Dallas made it 4-2 on Tyler Seguin’s 6th goal of the season. The Stars were skating well and had the Rangers on their heels as they stormed the net. There was a scramble in front of Shesterkin but the Rangers could not get possession of the puck and Seguin was able to finish the play to give the Stars a two goal lead.

This time, the Rangers challenged for goaltender interference but the call was upheld and the Stars had another power play. The Rangers have not had much luck with challenges this season.

Rangers had consecutive power plays late in the third period but the Stars put the game away with a pair of shorthanded, empty net goals in a span of 34 seconds. Laviolette gambled by pulling Shesterkin to get a two man advantage but sloppy puck handling gave Dallas the chance to put the game away.

On the first empty net goal, Erik Gustafsson made an awful blind pass near the blue line to create a turnover. Sam Steel was the beneficiary as he fired it into the open net for his first goal of the season. Roope Hintz joined the party with his 7th of the season to make it six unanswered goals for a hungry Dallas team that gave up six unanswered goals in their previous game.

The Rangers got on the board first as they scored a power play goal for the 13th time in 16 games. Trocheck scored his 5th goal of the season on a wrap around to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 16:25.

Rangers had the man advantage when Trocheck passed cross ice to Chris Kreider who fired a shot that was wide of the net. Puck came right to Trocheck behind the net and he was able to stuff it in past Wedgewood. Kreider and Gustafsson had the assists. Trocheck and Gustafsson each extended their point scoring streak to six straight games.

Kakko got off the schneid to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the second period as he snapped a ten game skid without a point.

Kakko, who was down low, played give and go with Nick Bonino and then tried to pass the puck. Luckily it deflected off the skate of Dallas defenseman Ryan Suter and past Wedgewood to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead at 13:38 of the second period. Jacob Trouba had an assist while Bonino had the primary assist for his first point as a Ranger.

Unfortunately, that two goal lead was shortlived as Jamie Benn scored just 45 seconds later to make it a 2-1 game. Dallas came in on a 3 on 1 and Benn took a pass from Pavelski and snapped it past Shesterkin for his fourth goal of the season.

Barclay Goodrow’s first goal of the season with 15.2 seconds left rounded out the scoring but this was a disappointing loss for a Ranger team that has been strong this season in the third period.

Taking a lead into the third period on the road is a pretty good spot to be, third period got away from us,” Trouba said. “Nothing to panic over I don’t think, just gotta move on and keep playing our game.”

They’ll move on to play the Penguins in Pittsburgh Wednesday night.

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