The Force has been strong with the New York Rangers in the early proceedings of the 2016-17 season, and they’re hoping the return of the…Jedi?…Henrik Lundqvist will keep the good vibes going.
Lundqvist, who briefly gave way to backup Antti Raanta, will make his first start in four games, as the Rangers take on the Dallas Stars tonight at American Airlines Center (8:30 PM, MSG).
The Rangers (20-10-1) will embark on a brief two game to hockey’s southern regions, following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Jesper Fast had the Rangers’ lone goal, but it was former Blueshirt Artem Anisimov who sent the fans home disappointed, putting in his 13th goal of the season. It ended a three game Rangers winning streak.
Meanwhile, the Stars (12-13-6) are having a tough go at it in defending their first division title since 2006, tough they did pick up a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. Dallas scored five goals in the third period, paced by Jamie Benn, who had a goal and a pair of assists.
This will be the first of a pair of meetings between the Rangers and Stars this season, with the Rangers sweeping the set last season, including a 3-2 win in North Texas on February 27. Kevin Klein played hero for the Rangers, putting in the game winning goal with 2:53 remaining. Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh also had goals for the Rangers, while Lundqvist made 36 saves in victory.
This will be Lundqvist’s first start since the Rangers’ 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders on December 6. Including his last stellar start against them, Lundqvist is 7-4-0 all-time against the Stars, who will visit Madison Square Garden on January 17.