Commentary

Stars don't align for Richards, Rangers

Woywitka's late turnover leads to Dallas' winning goal as Blueshirts drop MSG dud

Updated: December 14, 2011, 12:07 AM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- It was Brad Richards' first game against his former Dallas team since signing a nine-year, $60 million deal with the Rangers in July, but Jeff Woywitka may have been the most notable ex-Star on Tuesday night.

The 28-year-old defenseman turned the puck over in the Rangers' defensive zone, a giveaway that led to Trevor Daley's game-winner that snapped a scoreless draw with 4:59 to play and boosted the Stars over the Rangers, 1-0.

"You couldn't blink," coach John Tortorella said. "You could tell it was a game of who was going to blink first. We blinked first and lose the game."

Carl Hagelin
Debby Wong/US PresswireA charging call against Carl Hagelin raised John Tortorella's ire, but the Rangers couldn't get on the board in a loss to the Stars.

Dallas rookie netminder Richard Bachman recorded his first career shutout in only his second NHL start with a strong 34-save effort.

"Their goalie made some pretty good saves," captain Ryan Callahan said. "It wasn't a matter of not getting the chances. It was more of we weren't burying them. We didn't score on the opportunities, It was a bit of an ugly game altogether."

Daley's goal was the only blemish against Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who remained in the game after a scary sight in the second period. The 29-year-old went down in obvious pain after taking a shot high near the left collarbone from Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray, known for having one of the league's hardest shots.

"The first 20 seconds, you're not sure if it's broken or just a stinger," said Lundqvist, who made 27 saves. "After a while you're fine. It's pretty tight right now and it's going to be sore tomorrow, but it's not too bad."

Save for Daley's deciding goal, the most noteworthy scene of an otherwise unremarkable game was Tortorella's eruption behind the Rangers' bench after Carl Hagelin was slapped with an absurd charging call.

The speedy rookie was chasing down a loose puck along the left wing when Bachman skated out to challenge him at the left circle, initiating a collision that ultimately left the Rangers a man down.

The fiery coach was furious with the call and made no effort to conceal his displeasure to the on-ice official before the Stars power play that ensued.

"I told him to do it again," Tortorella said of his advice to Hagelin when he returned to the bench. "The goalie charged him. The goalie's out 20 feet and [Hagelin] is going after the puck. So I said do it again."

Tortorella declined to say whether he thought the phantom penalty was a knee-jerk reaction to the recent uproar about protecting goalies that was sparked when Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was run over by Boston's Milan Lucic last month.

However, Hagelin thought that played a factor in the errant whistle.

"I've seen a lot of those penalties," Hagelin said. "The refs have been calling those lately after the hit on Miller. I felt like I had step there on the goalie and I actually got a shot off, and then I tried to stop and turned to the left. The ref made a decision and there's nothing more you can do."

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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