It’s an interconference matchup on the ice between a pair of teams looking to improve off last season’s struggles. The Dallas Stars are on the road in the Big Apple as they travel to face the New York Rangers Thursday night. Dallas finished last season 23-19-14 and ended up fifth in the Central Division. They missed the playoffs by four points. New York was in action on the road against the Capitals Wednesday night so they’ll be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation here. The Rangers own a 5-4-1 edge in the last 10 meetings between the teams, including a 4-2 road victory in the most recent matchup on March 10, 2020.
Dallas Stars Hoping to Return to Postseason in 2021-22Dallas started last season strong but struggled as the season wore on and ended up missing the postseason by four points. The Stars hope to be better offensively than they were last season and to find a way to win some games that end up in overtime or shootouts. Dallas finished last season 19th in the league in goals per game as they averaged 2.74 goals per contest on the year. The Stars stood 7th in goals against as they allowed an average of 2.60 goals a night last season. Dallas was fifth when it comes to success on the power play as they converted on 23.6% of their chances with the man advantage last season. The Stars were 19th in penalty killing as they successfully navigated 79.1% of their shorthanded situations on the year.
It's nice to see that absolute snipe again, 24. pic.twitter.com/fZLKH0pg0H— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 8, 2021
There are some new faces in the mix for the Stars this season. Dallas signed veterans Ryan Suter, Braden Holtby, Michael Raffl and Luke Glendening in free agency while retaining Joseph Cecconi, Ben Gleason, Joel Kiviranta and Jerad Rosburg. The Stars lost Andrew Cogliano (San Jose), Justin Dowling (Vancouver), Taylor Fedun (Pittsburgh) and Mark Pysyk (Buffalo) in free agency while Stephen Johns hung up his skates. Joe Pavelski (25 goals, 26 assists) led the team in scoring last season and is back again this year. Jason Robertson (17 goals, 28 assists), Roope Hintz (15 goals, 28 assists) and Jamie Benn (11 goals, 24 assists) are all back as well. Defensively, the team is led by John Klingberg (seven goals, 29 assists) and Miro Heiskanen (eight goals, 19 assists), who are both capable weapons on the blue line. Anton Khudobin, who was 12-11-7 with a 2.54 GAA, a .905 save % and three shutouts in 32 games last season, is expected to get the start between the pipes in this one.
New York Rangers Close Opening Back-to-BackNew York had their ups and downs last season, finishing the year 27-23-6 for 60 points and ended up fifth in the East Division, 11 points behind the Islanders for the final playoff spot. The Rangers were in action Wednesday night against Washington so they’ll have knocked the rust off in an actual meaningful contest. New York was above average offensively last season as they average 3.14 goals per contest, leaving them 10th in the league in goals per game. The Rangers were tied for 13th in the league in goals against per game as they gave up 2.77 goals a night. New York was solid with the man advantage as they converted 20.7% of their chances on the power play, which was 14th in the league. The Rangers were solid in the penalty-killing department as they successfully navigated 82.2% of their shorthanded situations, putting them 10th in the league.
Squad. 💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/dKhopKXs1W— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 10, 2021
It’s going to be an interesting season for the Rangers this year as the team has most of the core from last year back in 2021-22. New York re-signed Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil, Tim Gettinger, Libor Hajek, Adam Huska and Ty Ronning. The Rangers also brought in Greg McKegg, Dryden Hunt and Patrik Nemeth via free agency. New York lost Phillip Di Giuseppe (Vancouver), Jack Johnson (Colorado), Brendan Smith (Carolina) and Darren Raddysh (Tampa Bay) in free agency. The Rangers will be led offensively by Artemi Panarin (17 goals, 41 assists), Mika Zibanejad (24 goals, 26 assists), Ryan Strome (14 goals, 35 assists) and Pavel Buchnevich (20 goals, 28 assists) in an effort to pile up goals. Adam Fox (five goals, 42 assists) is the lead defenseman on the blue line while the Rangers hope to get more production from high draft picks Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere. Alexandar Georgiev, who was 8-7-2 with a 2.91 GAA, a .905 save % and two shutouts in 19 appearances last season, is expected to get the start in goal here.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Rangers are playing the second game of a back-to-back situation here and they return home for this contest after playing Washington Wednesday night. New York getting a chance to knock the rust off should be helpful to get up to speed. Dallas is going to likely be missing Robertson, who is doubtful with an upper-body injury. That could be detrimental to the Stars’ chances in this contest as they are still trying to get up to speed, especially on the defensive end of the ice. New York is a tough team at home normally and the Stars have to show that they can be more consistent on the road. Give the Rangers the upper hand at home in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
Dallas was 10-12-6 on the road last season. In those games, the Stars had a -11 goal differential while posting an average total of 5.32 goals per game in those contests. That number dropped from their 5.43 goal per game average overall last season. Dallas averaged only 2.46 goals per game on the road last season and now they have to go on the road here. New York was 14-11-3 at home on the year last season and held a +17 goal differential in those contests. The Rangers saw an average of 6.25 goals per game on home ice, compared to their 5.91 goal per game average over the course of the year. This one ends up short of the mark with the Rangers playing with fatigue and the Stars struggling to light the lamp.