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Modano propels Stars past Rangers

By Larry Fleisher

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Sean Avery led the Dallas Stars in the

passion and energy department. After his teammates followed

suit, they were on their way to being treated to dinner by their

noted pest.

Mike Modano snapped a tie just 8:03 into the third period as the

Stars rallied for a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on

Monday in Avery's return to Madison Square Garden.

Captain Brenden Morrow added a power-play tally and Marty Turco

finished with 28 saves for Dallas, which snapped a two-game

losing streak and also allowed less than three goals for the

first time this season.

"It was a tight game and we needed to be responsible in all

areas of the game," Modano said. "We knew we needed some saves

and we needed some opportunities to get some goals and we got

them."

"It was a good win by our team," said Stars coach Dave Tippett,

who had seen his team allow a league-worst 23 goals before

Monday. "That's all there is to say. It was a good game with a

lot of pace. We beat a pretty good team over there, so we'll

take that win."

Markus Naslund scored 58 seconds into the contest and Henrik

Lundqvist made 25 saves for New York, which has posted a 1-2-1

record following a 5-0-0 start. The Rangers played for the

seventh time in 11 games and have scored just six goals in their

last four contests.

"I thought it was going to be a very tight game," New York coach

Tom Renney said. "I thought it was going to be close. I thought

we were going to win it. They are a fundamentally sound team.

It was going to be a mistake that won the hockey game."

"It was a tight game," Lundqvist added. "They are a good team,

but at the same time we need to put pressure on them. They

played pretty solid."

With the game tied at 1-1, B.J. Crombeen was able to gain

possession of the puck behind the net. Rangers' defenseman Dan

Girardi was unable to clear and it went straight to Modano, who

scored on a wrist shot from the outer edge of the left faceoff

circle.

Modano scored his 531st career goal and it came on a night when

Avery had his much-hyped to New York.

Avery did not stick around his locker to discuss it, only saying

to the crowd of reporters: "I love you guys, but I have to take

my teammates out to dinner."

He did however conduct an interview on MSG network's postgame

show with Stan Fischler.

"We played well," he said. "We played a real good road game.

That's all I can ask."

Considered to be among the most hated players in the league,

Avery played 1 1/2 seasons with the Rangers. He recorded 23

goals and 30 assists following his acquisition from Los Angeles

on February 5 2007.

In his time with the Rangers, Avery also went out of his way to

be a nuisance to opposing players. His most notable incident

was his obstruction dance in front of Devils goaltender Martin

Brodeur during last spring's Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

The Rangers won that series in five games and it prompted the

NHL to make a rule change. Avery and New York saw their season

end in the conference semifinals for the second year in a row.

During the offseason, they parted ways as New York drastically

revamped its roster.

Without Avery, the Rangers tied a franchise mark with five

straight wins to open the season and have the most points in the

NHL. Avery's new team gave him a four-year, $15.5 million deal

and then struggled early before turning in their finest

defensive showing of the young season.

"Tonight was certainly his best game from an emotional and

passion perspective," Turco said. "If he's playing the right

way and playing hard, that's the guy we want. He led in the

department tonight of passion and emotion - just like we

expected."

Avery did not score and did not take any costly penalties but

did try to distract Brandon Dubinsky during warmups. He tried

trying to do the same on the first shift of the night but it

also resulted in Loui Eriksson taking a tripping

penalty just 25 seconds into the contest.

Less than a minute later, the Rangers had the lead when Naslund

tapped in the rebound of defenseman Michal Rozsvial's slap shot

that missed the net. It was the second goal of the season for

Naslund, who got by defenseman Mark Fistric to the doorstep and

tucked the rebound into the vacated side of the net.

That was the lone negative of the night and Dallas eventually

tied it on an ugly goal in the second period.

"I think this was a big game for him," Morrow said. "He let it

be known for him. His emotions were there and he cared."

Dallas tied it when Morrow broke away from Girardi and parked

himself in the front of the net. After getting the rebound of

rookie Fabian Brunnstrom's wrist shot, Morrow fell down but was

still able to put the puck past Lundvist at 5:28 of the second.

"It's just been a frustrating start personally and for the

team," Morrow said. "I kind of felt like if something nasty and

ugly went for us, that was kind of the break we needed and we

took advantage in the third."

After giving up a goal on the first shot, Turco played well and

turned in his best save when he stopped Dubinsky on a breakaway

early in the third and did not face any significant scoring

chances the rest of the way.

"Our third period was our best," Turco said. "That's

reassuring. We felt better as the game went on. They scored

first and quick and everything just pointed to this team going

in the right direction. Obviously the win is the most important

thing but the way it was done was a close second.

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