DALLAS (AP) — Ryan McDonagh scored an important goal in the third period for the New York Rangers on Saturday night. The one he prevented might have been even more crucial.
McDonagh’s late play set the stage for Kevin Klein’s winner with 2:53 left as the New York Rangers beat the Dallas Stars 3-2.
McDonagh banked in a shot off goalie Kari Lehtonen’s back for a 2-1 lead 8:26 into the third. Less than a minute later, he helped prevent a tying goal by sliding over a loose puck behind goalie Henrik Lundqvist at the goal line.
Referees whistled the play dead and said a video replay couldn’t determine whether the puck crossed the line.
"It was hard from my angle to see it, if it was crossing the line or not," Lundqvist said. "It’s such a tight call, you probably have seen it better on your screens than I have. Even though it maybe looked like it was going over, you couldn’t see it."
Lundqvist had stopped a wrist shot by Tyler Seguin for one of his 36 saves. Dallas’ Jason Spezza tried to knock the puck into the net.
"It doesn’t matter what I saw," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. He had yelled from the bench after the decision was announced.
"I thought it was a goal," Spezza said. "I guess if there’s no call on the ice, they say it’s inconclusive."
The Stars later tied it 2-2 on Valeri Nichushkin’s goal with 4:01 left.
For the winner, Klein sent a shot from the slot over Lehtonen’s glove into the upper right corner.
"We had some bounces going our way in the end," Lundqvist said. "The guys came up with a really big play the last couple of minutes there, but after that it was mayhem."
The Stars pressured the Rangers goal but couldn’t score after pulling Lehtonen for the final 1:12.
Chris Kreider scored on the power play for the Rangers. Second-place New York is 16 points behind Metropolitan Division-leading Washington.
Colton Sceviour had a goal and an assist for the Stars, and Lehtonen made 26 saves. Dallas has lost four of its past five home games and has a one-point lead in the Central Division over Chicago.
Both teams had good chances in the first period. Lundqvist stopped Tyler Seguin’s shot from the left faceoff circle 5 minutes in, and 7 minutes later, the goalie deflected Alex Goligoski’s shot from the inside edge of the left circle wide of the net. Jordie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak each had timely blocked shots for Dallas, and late in the period, J.T. Miller hit the left post for New York.
Kreider scored the first goal 4 seconds into the game’s first power play. Derick Brassard won the faceoff to Keith Yandle in the high slot, and Kreider used his stick to deflect Yandle’s shot between Lehtonen’s legs.
The Rangers have allowed two or fewer goals nine times in their last 13 games. They were able to keep Seguin and Jamie Benn, with a combined 64 goals, from scoring.
"You’re not going to stop those guys," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They’re going to get some looks, they’re going to get some chances. I thought we did as good of a job as you can against such elite players."
Sceviour tied the game 1-1 after Lundqvist made a pad save on Seguin’s shot from the right circle. The rebound went to Sceviour in front, and he slid the puck into the lower right corner.
NOTES: Dallas C Cody Eakin played in his 300th NHL game. … Rangers RW Jesper Fast started despite having his nose broken by a deflected puck during New York’s practice Friday in Farmers Branch. He assisted on Klein’s goal. … Dallas RW Ales Hemsky left the game in the second period because of an illness. … The Stars’ Radek Faksa picked up his first point in 10 games, since Jan. 3, with an assist on Sceviour’s goal. … The Rangers won both games in the season series.