Rangers defeated the stumbling Stars 4-2

Photos by Dominic Ceraldi

Roope Hintz finally broke the Stars’ lengthy scoring drought on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to squash their winless skid against the Rangers.

By the time the winger finally broke through with a power-play goal one minute, 23 seconds into the third period, it was nothing more than a small dent in a four-goal deficit as New York kept Dallas sliding in a 4-2 loss at American Airlines Center.

Hintz’s marker broke the Stars’ stretch of 175:49 without a goal, but the defeat ran their slump to a season-worst six games (0-4-2). Dallas is now only four points ahead of Nashville and Winnipeg — both winners of three straight games — for third place in the Central Division with 13 games remaining.

“I don’t know what we’re doing the day of a game, but we’re not preparing ourselves properly. We’re just not, it’s as simple as that,” Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said. “There’s no urgency if you’re not prepared, and with 13 games to go, we’re still in a playoff spot and we can dig ourselves out of this, but if we don’t prepare ourselves properly the day of a game, it’s just not gonna work.”

Just one shot and 19 seconds was all it took for New York to open the scoring.

After an errant pass from Tyler Seguin in the offensive zone sailed just past Jamie Benn and onto the stick of New York’s Artemi Panarin, the skilled forward glided to the other end and served up a quick feed to Adam Fox for a wrist shot that found the back of the net.

Bowness called the goal “completely unacceptable.”

“We gave them one right off the bat, which is just completely, completely unacceptable,” Bowness said. “We’ve got our veterans on the ice, should that happen? Absolutely not. No excuse for that.”

“It can’t happen,” Stars captain Jamie Benn added. “To start a game when you’re losing streak like this … you’ve got to go out there and win your shift and build momentum for your team, especially first shift of the game. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

Things didn’t get any better for the Stars.

Red-hot center Mika Zibanejad beat Bishop with a snap shot over the netminder’s shoulder for his 10th goal in five games and 40th of the season with 9:48 remaining in the first. Rookie Kaapo Kakko stretched the Rangers’ lead to three at 7:03 of the middle frame, then notched his second of the game 10 minutes later, zig-zagging around a lunging Bishop for the easy chip-in.

Kakko, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, hadn’t scored since Feb. 9 against Los Angeles.

“The feeling after the goal was so great,” he said. “That was a big goal for us, and for me after a long time.”

Hintz’s goal stopped the bleeding for Dallas in the third and started to turn the momentum in its favor. Andrew Cogliano followed up with the second Stars goal at 11:52 — their first at even strength in more than 262 minutes.

Despite an array of chances and another man-advantage opportunity in the final minutes, the Stars couldn’t cash in for more against Igor Shesterkin.

Bishop stopped 23 of 27 shots on the night. Miro Heiskanen finished with two assists.

Shesterkin turned aside 31 shots for the Rangers, who entered 1-4-0 in their previous five games and were coming off a loss to the Devils on Saturday.

“I believe in these guys,” Bowness said. “They’re pros. We’ve had a lot of great games. This is the first real adversity we’ve faced in terms of home play since I’ve taken over, and we’re gonna fix it together.

“That being said, if we’re not prepared to work and play the right way and play from our net out, then we’re gonna be embarrassed like we were for 40 minutes tonight.”

Hintz’s goal stopped the bleeding for Dallas in the third and started to turn the momentum in its favor. Andrew Cogliano followed up with the second Stars goal at 11:52 — their first at even strength in more than 262 minutes.

Despite an array of chances and another man-advantage opportunity in the final minutes, the Stars couldn’t cash in for more against Igor Shesterkin.

Bishop stopped 23 of 27 shots on the night. Miro Heiskanen finished with two assists.

Shesterkin turned aside 31 shots for the Rangers, who entered 1-4-0 in their previous five games and were coming off a loss to the Devils on Saturday.

“I believe in these guys,” Bowness said. “They’re pros. We’ve had a lot of great games. This is the first real adversity we’ve faced in terms of home play since I’ve taken over, and we’re gonna fix it together.

“That being said, if we’re not prepared to work and play the right way and play from our net out, then we’re gonna be embarrassed like we were for 40 minutes tonight.”

Looking to provide the Stars with a spark, Benn dropped the gloves right off a faceoff and fought Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith with 8:42 remaining in the second period.

The two took it old-school style with Benn even nudging away a referee to start the bout as they exchanged shoves and punches. The scrap lasted for several moments before being broken up when Benn and Smith became tangled up along the glass behind New York’s net.

That wasn’t the only battle of the night for Dallas. Following a big hit by Ryan Lindgren on John Klingberg, rookie Denis Gurianov went after the Rangers defenseman, scuffling briefly before wrestling Lindgren to the ice.

Both players were asserted roughing penalties for their participation, with Gurianov receiving a four-minute double-minor.

The Stars will look to right the ship again on Thursday in their final meeting with the Panthers at American Airlines Center. Dallas dropped its only other meeting on the road — a 7-4 decision at Florida on Dec. 20.

Courtesy Jeff Odom, DallasStars.com