National Hockey League roundup: Rangers open season by beating Jets 6-4

Ruben Hill
October 7, 2019

While the Rangers offered Panarin the promise of playing in a big market with an Original 6 franchise, they also had just acquired one of the most promising young talents available at the 2019 NHL Draft.

That's what engulfed Madison Square Garden for the New York Rangers' season opener Thursday night.

"I think we worked our asses off every single (preseason) game and won battles", he said.

Brett Howden scored the game-winner with 4:09 remaining in the third period.

"But I think having that underdog mentality, which I think now we're all pretty hungry to get back at it (will be good), so we have the hunger and we're not thinking too highly of ourselves anymore".

NY rallied behind three straight goals during the third period to beat the Jets.

Another season begins, and more milestones start coming for Henrik Lundqvist.

"I was so, so excited before the game", Kakko mused. Coach Paul Maurice and his staff have spent much of training camp pushing tweaks to the defensive system they hope will play better to some of the team's strengths, particularly on the back-end where they do have some mobile, puck-moving players.

Howden made it 5-4 by getting to the net after a face-off win and scoring on a backhand from the slot off a rebound of Jesper Fast's shot from the left face-off circle.

Staal gave NY a 1-0 lead at 11:35 of the first period on a wraparound.

The Jets went on their fifth power play with 1:37 left, and were skating with a 6-on-4 advantage when Brendan Smith scored into the empty net with 17 seconds remaining to seal the Rangers' win. "At the end of the day, it's just building a little chemistry, the little things that are going to make us a playoff contender".

Mika Zibanejad collected a goal and three assists, and defenseman Marc Staal also scored for the Rangers. Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves.

Ehlers said the team feels good in all three zones, even with the shift in personnel on the blue line.

"That's definitely different. Having a auto in your garage out the back door is something I've had my whole life but not here".

There was speculation that Kaapo Kakko would get the first shot at playing with Zibanejad and Panarin, but heading into game one, Buchnevich has been the third forward working with them in practice.

Still, Jacob Trouba put on a show and finished the game with a blistering goal and two assists.

Zibanejad, who had 30 goals last season, got a pass from Trouba, broke in on Hellebuyck and beat the goalie to tie it at 5:04.

Another former Jet now with the Rangers, defenceman Jacob Trouba, has fit in nicely in the NY locker room, partly because he already had a close friend on the team in his new defence partner, Brady Skjei.

The Jets tied it just 30 seconds later as Ehlers brought the puck up the left side on a rush, and sent it across to Wheeler, who quickly scored.

"First sport in NY, very first video game at MSG as a Ranger, is some thing that I'll normally don't forget", Trouba explained.

"I will reflect when it's time to do so", Lundqvist said. This is just one step in a long process and when you look at it with an unbiased view, there were a lot of positives for David Quinn and his charges to build from.

Consider this: Josh Morrissey is the only defenceman from last season's opening night in St. Louis who will be in the lineup Thursday against the Rangers.

Gorton was plenty aggressive in finding that help, acquiring Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets and Adam Fox from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ehlers' assist on Scheifele's goal gave him 200 points for his career. Scheifele now has six goals and 10 points in 12 career games against the Rangers.

The Sabres snapped a streak of 18 straight games between the two in which the Penguins got at least a point.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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