(Photo credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
The New York Rangers will try to extend their points streak against another division leader when they visit the Dallas Stars on Monday.
New York is on an 11-game (10-0-1) points streak and stands one more result away from the 10th-longest points streak in franchise history. Saturday's 5-3 road win over the New Jersey Devils was one of the most satisfying victories yet for the team, as the Rangers defeated their arch-rival with another late comeback.
Trailing 3-2 with nine minutes remaining in the third period, the red-hot Artemi Panarin equalized for New York on his second goal of the game. Jimmy Vesey collected his second goal on the game-winner, backhanding a shot into the Devils' net with 2:49 left in regulation.
It marked the fourth time this season that the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers have come back to win after trailing in the third period.
"Not every game's going to be perfect. ... But I think I've been impressed all year with how we've stuck with games and kept ourselves in it," Vesey said.
By contrast, the Stars are trying to recover from being on the wrong side of a comeback. Dallas took a 3-0 lead into the 13th minute of the second period against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, but that seemingly comfortable lead was wiped out by six unanswered Avalanche goals.
"Just shows you how fine of a line it is when you're going good and when it turns the other way," forward Joe Pavelski said. "It's a lesson early on that we can learn from, just no lead is really safe. Have to keep putting teams away, keep doing it the right way."
The loss ended the Stars' four-game win streak and reduced their lead in the Central Division to a point over the Avalanche and the Winnipeg Jets.
Jake Oettinger allowed a season-high five goals on 37 Colorado shots, but he figures to start in net against New York. Saturday's game was an aberration in an otherwise terrific season for Oettinger, who has a .920 save percentage and a 2.50 goals-against average in 12 games.
After a four-game absence due to a lower-body injury, Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 of 33 shots against New Jersey. Though Shesterkin looked very sharp on Saturday, backup goaltender Jonathan Quick might be an option against Dallas if the Rangers want to ease Shesterkin back into action.
Panarin has set a record for the longest season-opening points streak in Rangers history, as the star forward has 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) during his 15-game streak. Ten of those games have been multi-point performances, including Panarin's past five games.
A point on Monday would tie Panarin with Mike Rogers (during the 1981-82 season) for the second-longest points streak in Rangers franchise history. The longest points streak in club history is 17 games, a record set by Brian Leetch during the 1991-92 season.
Stars forward Matt Duchene has nine points (four goals, five assists) during a five-game points streak.
Monday's game will pit one of the NHL's best power plays against one of the league's best penalty-kill units. New York is an excellent 16-for-48 with the extra attacker this season, while Dallas has killed off 49 of 55 opposing power plays.
--Field Level Media