DALLAS – Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist returned to the New York Rangers’ lineup and were instrumental in their 2-0 shutout of the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Nash, who had missed four games with a groin injury, scored an unassisted goal with his team short-handed to snap a scoreless tie in the third period.
Lundqvist, who hadn’t started since a 4-2 loss to the Islanders on Dec. 6, left briefly after getting bowled over behind the net and combined with Antti Raanta for the shutout. Raanta had won three of the previous four games.
“I went out there with a lot of desperation,” said Lundqvist, who has won at least 30 games in 10 of his 11 seasons.
“I felt like it was an important game for me to just feel good. My game hasn’t changed over a week, but my mindset has changed.
“It is a new experience for me,” he added.
Nash broke up a pass by Jamie Benn near the Rangers blue line, skated down the ice and put a snap shot past Dallas goalie Antti Niemi at 7:08.
Nash said he benefited from watching teammate Chris Kreider’s unsuccessful breakaway in the second period.
“After watching Chris try it on his breakaway, I thought (Niemi) was kind of cheating the deke, and thought I could kind of catch him off guard,” Nash said.
Mats Zuccarello added an empty-net goal.
Lundqvist actually returned twice on Thursday. Raanta replaced him for 5:31 of the first period after Dallas’ Cody Eakin plowed into Lundqvist behind the net, knocking off his mask as the goalie played the puck along the end boards.
Eakin received a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct.
“The league better do something about that hit,” New York coach Alain Vigneault said.
“It’s everything that you want to take away from the game. A hit to the head, forward motion and it’s a goaltender on top.”
Ducks 4, Bruins 3
In Boston, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell scored second-period goals to steer Anaheim past the Bruins.
Andrew Cogliano and Kevin Bieksa also scored for the Ducks, who won for the seventh time in nine games.
Blackhawks 5, Islanders 4
In New York, Richard Panik netted the tiebreaking goal with 6:13 left in the third period for Chicago.
Coyotes 3, Maple Leafs 2 (SO)
In Toronto, former Maple Leaf Peter Holland scored the shootout winner for Arizona.
Kings 4, Red Wings 1
In Detroit, Nic Dowd had a tiebreaking goal late in the second period and Tyler Toffoli scored twice in the third for Los Angeles.
Wild 5, Predators 2
In Nashville, Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves, Eric Staal scored twice and Minnesota won its sixth straight.
Blues 5, Devils 2
In St. Louis, Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists and Alex Pietrangelo scored the go-ahead goal for the Blues.
Adam Henrique and Miles Wood scored for New Jersey, while Cory Schneider made 26 saves. The Devils’ losing streak is at a season-high four games.
Jets 4, Panthers 3 (SO)
In Winnipeg, Mathieu Perreault delivered the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout for the hosts.