In the two teams' first meeting since the Eastern Conference finals last spring, the New Jersey Devils knocked off the New York Rangers 3-1, thanks to a two-goal performance from David Clarkson and an outstanding 24-save night from 40-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur.
On pace: Coming off a breakout 30-goal season last season, David Clarkson is doing his best to replicate that success with a strong start to this season. The gritty winger, set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, tallied twice for the Devils on Tuesday. With less than a minute left in the first period, David Clarkson capitalized on the Rangers' failed clearing attempt, picking up his sixth goal of the season for a 2-0 Devils cushion. He then extended the Devils’ lead in the third period, chipping in a rebound for a power-play goal at 2:53. Clarkson, 28 leads the team in scoring with seven goals and five assists.
Helping out: Veteran forward Patrik Elias assisted on all three Devils goals Tuesday. The 36-year-old winger now has 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in nine games for New Jersey.
Déjà vu: Devils forwards Adam Henrique, who sent the Rangers packing in May with his Game 6 overtime game-winner in the Eastern Conference finals, victimized them again early in the first period Tuesday. The 22-year-old rookie went top shelf on Henrik Lundqvist five minutes into play to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.
Kreider comeback: After missing the past five games with an ankle injury, Chris Kreider registered his first point of the season with his third-period marker to cut the Devils lead, 3-1, at 6:28. Kreider’s goal -- a short-side shot that beat Brodeur high -- was his first regular-season goal. The 21-year-old winger notched five in the playoffs last spring.
Surprise scratch: Top-pair defenseman Dan Girardi was an unexpected scratch Tuesday. The 28-year-old blue-liner, who played in all 82 games for the Rangers last season, sat out Tuesday. The team said he was "banged up." Girardi did not practice Monday, instead taking a "maintenance day," but was on the ice during the team’s morning skate Tuesday. Tortorella kept defensive partners Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto, pairing Anton Stralman with Ryan McDonagh and employing Matt Gilroy and Stu Bickel as the team’s third-pair.
New guy on line: Top prospect J.T. Miller, appearing in his first NHL game and recently-acquired forward Darroll Powe, making his Rangers debut, started the game on a line with Kreider. Miller was one of the most active, energetic forwards for the Rangers, eventually earning some shifts on a line with Kreider and top-line center Brad Richards.
Up next: Rangers vs. Islanders, Thursday at 7 p.m.