After a long wait, we got our first chance to see the new look Rangers play a game that mattered. It was entertaining if not a little nerve-wracking, but the good guys came away with an opening night win on the back of a fine performance by Mika Zibanejad who lead the team and a productive first line in the 6-4 win.
Zibanejad finished with one goal and three assists to tie a career high four points in a game, while Artemi Panarin (715th in franchise history) and Jacob Trouba (716th) both scored their first goals and registered their first assists (793rd for Trouba and 794th for Panarin) as Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 450th regular season win just the 6th goaltender in NHL history to reach that mark, and is just four behind Curtis Joseph for 5th all time. He also appeared in his 15th season as a Ranger, the first goaltender to do so, and just the 6th overall to reach that mark. His 14th straight start in a season opener for the same team is second only to Martin Brodeur of the Devils who clocked 18 straight.
Brendan Smith finished off the game with an empty net goal while shorthanded. It was his first empty net goal as a Ranger, and second of his career – he had one with Detroit also. It was also the first short handed goal of his career.
The six goals scored in their season opener by the Rangers are the highest total since they won 6-3 over Buffalo back in 2010. In terms of home-openers, you have to go back to 1995 when they beat the previous installment of the Winnipeg Jets by the same 6-4 margin. The win also broke a two year streak where the Rangers lost their season opening game.
Four players made the Rangers debuts, with Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox becoming the 1062nd, 1063rd, 1064th and 1065th players to appear in a regular season game for the franchise.
Marc Staal scored the first goal of the season, and it was the tenth time in his career that he has registered the first goal of a game.
Eleven of the eighteen skaters recorded points last night, with two goals scored by defenseman – Trouba and Staal, and a third scored by Smith, who played part of the game on defense.