The goal came out of nowhere to win a game that was absolutely nowhere on an artistic scale.

But the Rangers sure weren’t about to throw it back and neither was Rick Nash, who fought for position in front to score at 18:02 of the third period to lift his team to a 3-2 victory over the Stars at the Garden on Friday night in a choppy eyesore of an entertainment vehicle that included 73 faceoffs.

But it did propel the Blueshirts to a 7-2-1 record over their last 10 matches, and it did in a sense validate Wednesday’s 3-2 triumph in Chicago that the team regards as a milepost in the 82-game marathon of a season.

“We talked about it in the morning, how we needed to follow that up with a strong game and we did,” said Henrik Lundqvist, very sharp at the most critical moments just as he was against the Blackhawks. “After that huge game in Chicago, we needed to take care of business here.”

The Nash-Derek Stepan-Chris Kreider top line had had a very quiet night other than a burst in the second period on which Stepan sprung Nash on a breakaway on which goaltender Kari Lehtonen got a piece.

The unit struggled to create a rush or down-low game throughout, with Stepan and Kreider suffering through miserable games at both ends of the ice. But not on the line’s final shift, no sir, not when the line worked on the wall and below the goal line after the Rangers had generated two shots in the previous 10 minutes.