Zuccarello gets shootout winner for Rangers

New York Rangers' left wing Mats Zuccarello (36)

New York Rangers' left wing Mats Zuccarello (36) scores the game winning goal in the shootout as Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) misses the puck during an NHL hockey game in Dallas. (Jan. 7, 2011) (Credit: AP)

DALLAS - For the third time in four games, the Rangers went beyond regulation Friday night. And for the second game in a row, Mats Zuccarello got the game-winner. On Wednesday, it was in overtime against Carolina. Friday night, it was the lone goal in the shootout for a 3-2 win, as Henrik Lundqvist stopped all three Stars shots.

"It's a great feeling to secure a win for the team,'' the 5-7 winger said. "But Henrik saved three shots. He's a big key for us.''

It took another third-period comeback to secure the first point. Breaking an 0-for-13 skid on the power play, Artem Anisimov took a pass from Marc Staal and whipped a shot from the right circle off the far post and past Kari Lehtonen at 8:04 to tie it at 2. Lundqvist received an assist, his second in two games and third of the season.

In the shootout, Lundqvist stopped Jamie Benn and Brad Richards (with a tiny slice of his blocker to deflect the puck off the crossbar), and after Zuccarello deked and beat Lehtonen, Lundqvist turned away Mike Ribiero's backhand to win it.

Five of the 20 players skating for the Rangers on Friday night were rookies: defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Mike Sauer and forwards Derek Stepan, Dale Weise and Zuccarello.

With so many veterans sidelined by injuries, the Rangers had found scoring hard to come by. In the four games before Friday, they scored six goals, one an empty-netter, but managed to post a 2-1-1 record. That issue surfaced again Friday night against the deeper Stars, who were leading the Pacific Division in their best season since 2005-06.

With the Rangers trailing 1-0 in the second, Brandon Dubinsky was sent off at the one-minute mark when he slashed Philip Larsen from behind. Benn fired off the glass from the right circle and the puck caromed around to the right boards. Ruslan Fedotenko gathered it, sped down the right side and unleashed a low shot that Lehtonen couldn't handle for the Rangers' NHL-leading ninth shorthanded goal.

But Steve Eminger was called for tripping at 8:26, giving the Stars their third consecutive power play, and they capitalized. Loui Eriksson was stopped by Lundqvist's dive at one post, but the puck went behind and came to Ribiero just outside the other. He had Lundqvist (28 saves) scrambling and didn't miss at 10:20 as the Stars regained the lead at 2-1.

The Stars took a 1-0 lead at 7:55 of the first period. When the puck was sent harmlessly in and around the net by Krys Barch, Lundqvist wandered behind but couldn't play it. Brandon Segal grabbed it in the right corner and quickly found Brian Sutherby in front before Lundqvist could fully recover.

The game marked Sean Avery's return to the city where he played 23 games in 2008 before being jettisoned.

Notes & quotes: Vinny Prospal, out since knee surgery Oct. 18, is expected to resume skating Sunday. "They see it's healing," John Tortorella said. "He's just had some swelling that set him back." . . . Jamie Langenbrunner, obtained from the Devils for a conditional third-round draft pick Friday, did not arrive in time to play for the Stars.

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