The Rangers return home this afternoon to face the hot Dallas Stars, who have won four straight and are 4-0-1 since changing the structure of their management team to include Brett Hull as co-GM. They had gone 2-4-1 before making the change, but come in now as one of the NHL's hottest teams, 6-1-2 in their last nine. The Rangers, on an even better 9-2-1 run despite a reprise of the scoring woes they thought they left behind during their five game win streak, will once again have to shut down a formidable power play -- the Stars are second in the NHL, are nearly as good on the road as they are at home, and have scored with the man advantage in six of their last nine (two PPGs in four of those games).
Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net after resting in Florida and may face his twin brother Joel, called up by the Stars from the AHL for at least this game. It's not certain who will oppose him in net -- backup Mike Smith has won three of the last four for Dallas, giving up only two goals in those games, and will split the two games the Stars play today and tomorrow with Marty Turco, who is not having a great season so far. The Stars are missing two key players -- Jere Lehtinen and Mattias Nortstrom. The Rangers remain without Marek Malik, who has not been missed given the rapid emergence of Marc Staal, and are uncertain about the status of Martin Straka (likely to go after tweaking a hamstring in his first game back on Friday) and Ryan Callahan (just about ready to return from a knee sprain). If neither can go, Greg Moore will play. Ivan Baranka has gone back to Hartford with Michal Rozsival OK after missing the first of the two Florida games.
The state of the Rangers is discussed in the Daily News and Post. NYR.com has a game preview. For a look at the Stars, see the Dallas Morning News here and here, as well as the team's web site. The Wolf Pack nipped the Devils in overtime last night -- see reports in the Courant, Howlings, and at WP.com. The Sunday hockey column in the Times has a section on Bobby Sanguinetti. Jess has a review of Saturday's prospect action at Prospect Park.