Jack Hughes powers Devils past Rangers in thriller – New York Post

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The Rangers’ power play seemed to be the most competitive component of their offense Tuesday night.

But when they were handed two late man-advantage opportunities in the third period of a one-goal game, the Rangers weren’t able to capitalize. As a result, they lost the first of eight meetings this season against the Devils, 4-3, at Madison Square Garden.

“We got looks, we spent a lot of time in their zone,” Chris Kreider said of the Rangers’ third-period power plays. “I thought we did a pretty good job of executing what we wanted to do, we just didn’t get the bounces. We continued to jump on loose pucks and hem them in. What was the final shot count? 50 shots? We weren’t just working the perimeter on the power play, we were getting the rubber to the net.

“[Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood] is a big boy, he probably saw a few too many pucks. Got to do a better job of screening. But at the same time, there was a lot of traffic, a lot of movement. At the end of the day, you kind of have to tip your cap to him, he made some big saves. I think if we continue with that approach, there was a rhythm to it. Pass, pass, shot, pass, pass, shot. Recovery, pass, pass, shot. That’s how you break down the kill. If we continue with that approach, we’re going to be OK.”

Two of the Rangers’ three goals came on the man-advantage in the second period. Their first even-strength goal didn’t come until Filip Chytil put away a rebound seven minutes into the third period to bring the Rangers within one.

Jack Hughes celebrates his second goal of the night in the Devils' 4-3 win over the Rangers.
Jack Hughes celebrates his second goal of the night in the Devils’ 4-3 win over the Rangers.
NHLI via Getty Images

The Devils were called for too many men on the ice just over four minutes into the final period and the Rangers drew two penalties later in the third. Nevertheless, the Blueshirts couldn’t get one more to go on the power play as Blackwood stood tall to finish the night with 47 saves on 50 shots.

“We had great looks, listen, their goalie played well,” Rangers head coach David Quinn said of the Rangers’ 2-for-6 power play.

Alexandar Georgiev turned aside 16 of the 20 shots he faced before Quinn opted to put Igor Shesterkin in net to start the third. Shesterkin finished with eight saves.

Devils head coach Lindy Ruff, who left his assistant coaching job with the Rangers in July after three seasons, picked up the win in his first game coaching against his former team.

Travis Zajac opened up the scoring for the Devils 32 seconds after the puck dropped. The Rangers were held to just one shot on goal through the first 11 minutes of the game while the Devils clogged every lane and crowded the middle in front of Blackwood.

After a scrum broke out in front of the Devils’ net early in the second period, Michael McLeod was penalized for roughing when he put Jacob Trouba in a headlock. With the man-advantage, Kreider was looking to tip the puck back to Mika Zibanejad, but it ricocheted off Devils defenseman Ryan Murray’s skate and past Blackwood to tie the game 1-1 at 2:50 of the second.

Less than two minutes later, Georgiev got a piece of a shot from Ty Smith, but lost sight of the puck behind him and Jack Hughes swooped in to make it a two-goal game. Hughes jump-started the next play as well, blocking a shot from Trouba and taking it all by himself for a 3-1 lead at 8:38 of the second.

The Rangers cut their deficit back to one on their third power play of the night, when Adam Fox sent a no-look pass to Zibanejad for a quick one-timer. But Trouba took a high-sticking penalty at 15:38 of the second and Hughes set up Miles Wood to make it a 4-2 game with four minutes left in the second.

A shot from P.K. Subban at the point later in the middle frame nearly made it 5-2, but Quinn challenged for offsides and the goal was taken away.

“We’re going to continue to learn and grow and I’m sure there’s going to be moments of adversity,” Kreider said. “But we’ve got to find a way to get points, especially in a game like that.”

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