NEW YORK (AP) — The Rangers' clutch victory over the Stanley Cup champions earlier this week would have lost a lot of luster if New York couldn't back it up against the struggling Dallas Stars.
The Rangers needed 58 minutes to get ahead — and then spent the final two holding on.
Rick Nash snapped a tie with 1:58 left, and the Rangers sent the Stars to their fifth straight loss, 3-2 on Friday night. New York is 7-2-1 in its last 10, but more importantly, the Rangers followed up their stirring win at Chicago on Wednesday with another one at home.
"We talked about it this morning," said Henrik Lundqvist, who made 24 saves to earn his second straight win. "It's always a great feeling when you come up big in the end of a game."
Nash poked a rebound of Chris Kreider's shot past goalie Kari Lehtonen to give New York its first lead. Nash has 10 goals this season and three in three games.
"I think it was 50 percent luck ... well, probably 70 percent luck and 30 percent skill," Nash said of his 50th game-winner. "I was just following the puck. It went a little bit higher than anticipated, but luckily it went in."
Ryan Callahan and Derick Brassard both erased one-goal Rangers deficits, and Brad Richards had two assists to extend his point streak to four games (two goals, four assists).
Ryan Garbutt and Cody Eakin both had a goal and assist, but the Stars remained winless in 2014. Lehtonen stopped 31 shots for Dallas, which went 0-3 on its three-game trip through the New York metropolitan area.
"I thought we skated better," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought we created a little bit more and I thought we were better with the puck. We still have a ways to go, though."
After being shut out for the first time this season in a 1-0 loss at New Jersey on Thursday, the Stars got their offense on track early — grabbing the lead 4:06 in on Eakin's ninth goal.
Garbutt outraced Rangers defenseman Marc Staal to a loose puck deep in the New York end and sent a pass back to Eakin in the right circle. Eakin let go a shot that Lundqvist blocked with his arm, but couldn't control as it found its way in.
Dallas had the lead despite being outshot 8-3 at the time in the sluggish first period that featured multiple icings and frequent faceoffs.