Stars battle Richards, Rangers at MSG

Set to begin the eastern part of their five-game road trip, the Dallas Stars will visit a familiar face tonight as they visit Brad Richards and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

It will mark Richards' first meeting with his former team after inking a nine- year, $60 million contract with the Rangers this offseason. Richards joined the Stars during the 2007-08 season when he was traded to Dallas from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 31-year-old matched a career best with 91 points in 2009-10 and logged a personal-best 28 goals with the Stars a season ago.

Considered the top prize of this past free agency group, Richards opted to sign with the Rangers and reunite with head coach John Tortorella after the two won a Stanley Cup together in 2004 with Tampa Bay.

Captain Brenden Morrow of the Stars has faced former teammates before and said tonight will be no different.

"For the first shift it might be weird seeing him in a Rangers uniform, but after that it's just another game," said Morrow.

Dallas' main goal will be picking up a victory to move above .500 on its season-long swing. The Stars split the first two contests in San Jose and Los Angeles and will now visit the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.

The Stars dropped a 5-2 decision to the Sharks on Thursday, but followed up with a 2-1 triumph over the Kings on Saturday. Jamie Benn netted a power-play goal and Trevor Daley had a goal and an assist to help Dallas snap a two-game slide in which it had allowed 10 goals.

In his first NHL start, Richard Bachman made 26 saves to earn the win. He is expected to get the call again tonight in net for a Stars team that is tied with the Coyotes for first place in the Pacific Division with 33 points.

"I tried to keep it as simple as possible," Bachman said about his start. "When the buzzer went off to win the game, I was pretty excited. It's something you dream about."

The Rangers are also near the top of their respective division as they sit a point behind the first-place Flyers in the Atlantic after a 6-1 victory over the Panthers on Sunday. Derek Stepan scored twice during New York's four-goal second period, while Steve Eminger and Marian Gaborik also scored in the frame.

Richards and Artem Anisimov added power-play goals in the first for New York, which is 7-1-1 in its last nine games and 14-3-2 in the past 19.

"We got a good start, and obviously in the second period ... we caught a team that was probably a little tired and capitalized," said Richards.

Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves for a Rangers team that at 17-6-4 is off to its best start through 27 games since going 19-6-2 during its 1993-94 Stanley Cup- winning season.

The Rangers logged a 3-2 shootout win in Dallas on Jan. 7 in the lone meeting between the club's last season, their second straight victory in the series. However, the Stars are 3-1-1 in the past five encounters.