That's not what Brad Richards was hoping for in his first game against his old team since signing with the New York Rangers. In a snoozer of a contest, the Rangers and Dallas Stars were toe-to-toe with one another: not much offense, not much excitement and some steady goaltending. One mistake -- and one goal -- would be all this game needed, and that's exactly what the Stars got in the third period when Jeff Woywitka softly sent the puck out of the defensive zone, instead of firing it, and Dallas took control and converted it for the only goal in a 1-0 triumph Tuesday night.
Woywitka, also a former star, had a chance to get the puck out the end zone, but instead passed it right to the incoming Star player. The Rangers were outmanned 4-on-2 on the play, and Trevor Daly got one through Henrik Lundqvist off a pass from Mike Ribeiro with 4:59 remaining. Lundqvist was stellar in this game, making 27 saves, but he was bested by a rookie in Richard Bachman who was making his second career start.
Bachman frazzled the Rangers all night, kicking aside 34. For the first half of the game, however, the quality of the Rangers' chances were very low, and they kicked it up a notch in the third. It didn't matter; Bachman was cool and collected in net and had great rebound control. His best save came with the Rangers shorthanded in the third period: a 2-on-1 chance in which Ryan McDonagh rushed up the ice and launched a one-timer that the rookie deflected away with his glove.
In the end, though, New York can blame a feeble power play for this loss. Yes, both teams played the "we don't want to make a mistake style" throughout the game. The Rangers didn't have a lot of energy, they weren't forechecking and they didn't look sharp. With the game on the line, the man advantage sputtered. It has looked better recently, yes. But, to be feared in this league, it needs to be more consistent. Tonight, it was 0-for-4 and failed to convert on two third-period opportunities, once before the goal and once afterward.
The Rangers face a good defensive club with an excellent goaltender in the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. This can be another learning lesson that when you have the chance in a close game like this was, you have to find a way to get it in the net. There's just no excuses if you want to be considered an "elite" club.
As for Richards, he had a game-high five shots on goal in 23:34.