DALLAS — In a frantic third period that had its controversy, Kevin Klein’s wrister over goaltender Kari Lehtonen’s glove with 2:53 remaining proved to be the winner Saturday as the Rangers edged the Stars, 3-2.
With the victory, which included 36 saves by Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers concluded a three-game trip away from Madison Square Garden with two wins after a humbling 5-2 loss to the Devils in Newark.
“I love the way we responded after New Jersey . . . The way we’ve been competing the last two games, it gets me going, too,” Lundqvist said. “We want to get points; you don’t want to put yourself in a spot where it comes down to your last two games. You want to make sure you take care of business right now.”
But Lundqvist acknowledged that a little bit of luck was involved Saturday. “In the end, we just had the bounces with us,” he said, “although we earned it by working really hard.”
Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh’s high backhander along the goal line to the left of Lehtonen banked off the goalie and into the net at 8:26 of the third period to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
“I took a look in the front to see if anyone was around, then noticed he was out,” McDonagh said. “If he’s on the post, I probably hold on to it; very fortunate to get the bounce as he was coming back to the crease.”
The Stars initially appeared to tie the score with 9:30 left on a scramble, with McDonagh on his knees in the net and the puck under him. The call on the ice was no goal. A review was ruled inconclusive because no camera angle showed the puck across the line. Stars coach Lindy Ruff was irate.
“I fanned on the clear,” McDonagh said. “I thought it was caught under my chest. Must have spun out a little.”
Said Lundqvist: “From what I saw, you couldn’t see it cross the line. It maybe looked like it was going over, but that’s the rule.”
But the Stars continued to push and Valeri Nichushskin tied the score at 15:59 when his slap shot changed direction after hitting Dan Girardi. Klein won it 1:08 later.
“Then,’’ Lundqvist said, “it was mayhem.”
After a scoreless first period, Stars defenseman Jason Demers was sent off for delay of game for clearing the puck over the glass at 4:34 of the second period, and the Blueshirts took a 1-0 lead four seconds later. Chris Kreider, screening in front, tipped Keith Yandle’s shot through Lehtonen’s legs for his second goal in two games and fourth point in four.
At 9:08, the Rangers couldn’t clear their zone and Colton Sceviour got to the crease ahead of Girardi for a rebound and a 1-1 tie, prompting a seated Lundqvist to angrily slam his stick on the ice.