Henrik Lundqvist, matched up against his twin brother, made a career-high 43 saves for the Rangers and Matt Cullen and Karel Rachunek scored two goals each, in New York’s 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. “That’s MVP goaltending, that’s Stanley Cup goaltending,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “He was all-everything.” New York committed too many penalties and allowed too many shots but got an excellent performance from Lundqvist to stretch their win streak to a season-high five games.
And he might’ve had a little extra motivation seeing a family member in an opposing jersey.
Lundqvist’s brother Joel was in the Dallas lineup, making it the third matchup of twins in NHL history. Rich and Ron Sutter were the last set to meet up March 14, 1994. Patrik and Peter Sundstrom played against each other 18 times.
Joel Lundqvist was called up from Iowa of the AHL earlier Thursday after Stars centre Mike Modano was placed on injured reserve (hip-groin), retroactive to Dec. 4. Joel Lundqvist played only 5:44 and didn’t take a shot in his fifth NHL game – all this season.
“I never see players out there but I noticed every time he was on the ice,” Henrik said. “I was nervous every time he was out there.
“Getting the chance to play against him in the NHL is a special feeling.”
Rachunek scored one short-handed goal and another on a power play for the Rangers, who were outshot 45-20 and survived Dallas’s season-high 11 power plays.
“We spent too much time in the penalty box, so sometimes the defence gets stretched,” Renney said.
Fedor Tyutin added a short-handed, empty-net goal for the Rangers with 1:03 remaining.
Cullen gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead 57 seconds into the second period when his centring pass went in off the leg of Stars rookie goaltender Mike Smith, who made 15 saves in his sixth NHL start.
Cullen made it 3-1 at 1:44 of the third when his shot from the slot got through Smith’s pads, but Philippe Boucher notched a power-play goal a minute later to pull the Stars to within a goal.
“Their goalie was excellent and (Smith) gave up two goals he’d probably like to have back,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said.
Rachunek’s power-play goal with 4:03 left extended the Rangers’ lead to 4-2.
Sergei Zubov had a first-period, power-play goal for Dallas, which lost for the third time in four games.
The Rangers couldn’t stay out of the penalty box in the first, leading to five Stars power plays and Dallas’s 16-4 edge in shots.
Dallas broke through at 16:24 of the first when Zubov cashed in on a 5-on-3 advantage with a shot from between the circles.
Less than a minute later, Dallas’s Eric Lindros was checked into the boards and his stick became lodged between panes of glass. While Lindros tried in vain to work the stick loose, the Rangers took off on a 2-on-1, short-handed break that Rachunek finished off at 17:11.
The Stars continue to be frustrated over their inability to finish around the net.
“We had plenty of shots and plenty power plays, but we don’t seem to be getting the timely goals we got at the start of the season,” Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said. “We outplayed them for a while but we couldn’t capitalize.
“It looks good on paper to have 45 shots, but you’ve got to bear down in front of the net.”
Notes: Rachunek scored his first two goals of the season and first since March 25, 2004, finding the net on the Rangers’ third shot . . . Modano missed his fifth straight game. The earliest he could return is Saturday at Los Angeles . . . Henrik Lundqvist’s previous career high for saves was 38, twice last season as a rookie . . . The Rangers won in Dallas for the first time since 1996. New York had been winless in its five previous visits.