There was joy and music and laughter in the visitor’s dressing room, a palpable sense that what had just happened on the ice at the American Airlines Center was important, and that through the herculean efforts of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers had finally, mercifully, crested a hill.

The 3-2 win over the Stars on Thursday night was many things, but above all it was a much-needed victory for a Rangers team that for long stretches looked like they were going to start this five-game road trip with more woebegone fatalism.

Instead, what they got was Lundqvist, in all his glory, making save after save, a career-high 23 in the first period alone, 41 total, that dropped jaws all over the house. And Lundqvist, from underneath the Broadway Hat, with a large high-definition camera from his native Sweden following his every move, sitting, smiling, and conceding that this is exactly what his team needed.

“We came out in the third and we made up our mind — we need this game,” Lundqvist said. “It was a great feeling.”

Somehow, the Rangers (11-11-0) started that third period tied 1-1, a testament to Lundqvist’s play. By then, the Stars (11-8-2) had 36 shots on goal, an astounding 67 shots attempted, and just one of them had hit the back of the net, a long power-play slap shot from Stephane Robidas that had to deflect off the skate of Ryan McDonagh to sneak past.

“He was the best player on the ice tonight and he won us the game,” Marc Staal told The Post. “He made a lot of game-changing saves. He was big when we needed him.”

The Rangers pushed back in the second, but still only had Rick Nash’s first-period power-play tally to show for it. Then when the third opened, it was Chris Kreider scoring 1:18 in on a snap shot that found its way through a screen — not without changing directions once or twice — followed just 37 seconds later when defenseman John Moore’s long wrist shot beat Kari Lehtonen over the glove, giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead.