National Hockey League
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DALLAS -- The New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist wasn't about to let a violent collision keep him out of the net for long in his first action since Dec. 6.

Rick Nash scored the game-winning goal on a shorthanded breakaway at 7:08 of the third period and Lundqvist stopped 27 shots as New York defeated the Dallas Stars 2-0 on Thursday night.

It was Nash's first game back from a groin injury that kept him out of four games -- the same amount Lundqvist sat on the bench in favor of Antti Raanta.

"All I can say is I went out there with a lot desperation and my approach," Lundqvist said. "I felt like it was an important game for me to just feel good. My game hasn't changed over a week, but my mindset has changed a little bit with everything that's going on and it is a new experience for me (not starting the past four games)."

Lundqvist wasn't officially credited with a shutout since he left the game for 5 minutes, 31 seconds in the first period after he was leveled by Stars center Cody Eakin behind the net.

Lundqvist was put into NHL-mandated concussion protocol after Eakin was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.

"I didn't see him coming at all," Lundqvist said. "(The trainer) came out and told me you have to leave right away ... felt pretty good. Did a quick test and tried to rush to come back out there, because I really wanted to play."

Antti Raanta entered the game during that time, but didn't face a shot.

The Stars maintained there was no intent on the hit.

"I was coming in pretty fast," Eakin said. I was trying to create some energy and intention was to go for the puck and not make contact with him or his head. It's a collision that my momentum carried me a little bit off my feet."

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wasn't happy about it.

"First thing is the league better do something about that hit. It's everything that you want to take away from the game," he said. "A hit to the head, forward motion and it's a goaltender on top. That happens in the playoff and your goaltender's got to go out of the net, they'd better do something about that. They've got to take care of business."

Lundqvist was busy on the penalty kill and helped the Rangers kill all five Stars power plays.

The Stars had a trio of power-play chances in the second period. First Jamie Benn was stopped from close range by Lundqvist's right pad with 9:30 remaining in period. Soon after, Patrick Eaves hit the post and Jamie Benn hit the crossbar on the rebound.

Later in the period, Lundqvist stopped Devin Shore on a point-blank chance on the power play with his left pad.

Earlier in the period, Chris Kreider had a clean breakaway for the Rangers, but he missed the net on a forehand to backhand move on Antti Niemi's glove side.

John Klingberg hit the post on the power play early in the third period when Lundqvist had been pulled out of position.

That was before Nash took advantage of a turnover by Jamie Benn and fired a wrist shot over Niemi's left shoulder for his 12th goal of the season.

"That's a stupid play on that. When you play a good team like that you've got to make them make the first mistake," Benn said. "It was my fault. I'll take the blame for this one."

Mats Zuccarello scored into the empty net with 1:04 remaining.

NOTES: Stars D Jamie Oleksiak was eligible to return from his two-game suspension but was a healthy scratch. The Stars also scratched D Patrik Nemeth and LW Curtis McKenzie. ... D Adam Clendening was the lone scratch for the Rangers. ... D Ryan McDonagh was back in the Rangers' lineup after missing a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday with the flu. ... G Antti Raanta started the previous four games for the Rangers before getting the night off Thursday.
Top Game Performances
NY Rangers   Dallas
Rick Nash 1 Points N/A
Rick Nash 1 Goals N/A
Michael Grabner 1 Assists N/A
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
Rick Nash 1 Short Handed Goals N/A
Henrik Lundqvist 1.000 Save Percentage Antti Niemi .966
Henrik Lundqvist 27 Saves Antti Niemi 28
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
NY Rangers 30 2 0-3 5-5 12 30
Dallas 27 0 0-5 3-3 21 27
Upcoming Games
  • Dallas will play their next game at home against Philadelphia. The Stars have a W/L % of .154 after a win and .526 after a loss.
  • NY Rangers will play their next game on the road against Nashville. The Rangers have a W/L % of .500 after a win and .917 after a loss.