DALLAS — Jesper Fast played on very little sleep, wore a full visor for the first time to protect his nose — which was broken by a deflected puck in practice on Friday — and still managed to help set up the Rangers’ game-winning goal late in the third period Saturday.
“Tremendous courage on his part to go out there,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He had blood coming out of his nose all night. It was very hard for him to sleep.”
Fast needed a few minutes to adjust to the feel and the different vision with the extra protection. “I’ve felt better,” he said. “[Friday] was the worst, just a lot of ice and rest. I was lucky [it wasn’t worse].”
With the score tied at 2-2, Fast — who played 18:33 — battled to keep the puck in the zone. “The guy tries to bang it out,” he said. “I was lucky to knock it down. I heard Step [Derek Stepan] yelling for it and he makes a great pass to [Kevin] Klein,” who scored the game-winner at 17:07.
It was Fast’s 14th assist but only his first point in eight games. “Lately I’ve been having trouble getting the puck into the net,” he said, “but you’ve just got to work hard.”
The Stars’ top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza, which Stepan called “maybe the hardest line in the league to play against” with their combined speed and skill, had 11 shots on goal without success . . . For the rest of the season, the Rangers will wear a decal on their helmets with the initials AB to honor former captain Andy Bathgate, who passed away on Thursday at age 83 . . . Marc Staal skated in his 600th career NHL game, the 10th defenseman to do so in franchise history.