From the Rangers:
New York Rangers Post-Game Notes
October 9, 2010 – New York Rangers 6 at Buffalo Sabres 3 [Game No. 1; Away Game No. 1]
*The New York Rangers began their 85th anniversary season with a 6-3 victory against the Buffalo Sabres tonight at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Rangers’ rookie Derek Stepan tallied a hat trick in his NHL debut, and the six goals were the most by the Rangers in their season opener since their 6-2 win vs. New Jersey in the 1983-84 season opener on Oct. 5, 1983.
*Derek Stepan notched three goals and posted a plus-three rating in 17:21 of ice time while making his NHL debut. He registered the Rangers’ first goal of the season, opening the game’s scoring at 10:53 of the first period. His second and third goals were recorded in a 3:12 span late in the second period. His third goal at 18:20 of the middle frame was the game-winner. Stepan’s hat trick established the following Rangers’ and NHL marks:
-He is the first Ranger in franchise history to record a hat trick in his NHL debut.
-His three goals tied the Rangers’ franchise record for most goals in an opening-night game, becoming just the second player in team history to record a hat trick in the season opener. Ron Murphy also tallied a hat trick in the 1955-56 season opener on Oct. 7, 1955 at Chicago.
-The last Ranger rookie to register a hat trick was Jan Hlavac on Feb. 11, 2000 vs. Boston.
-Stepan is the 26th Ranger to record a hat trick in their rookie season.
-The last Ranger to register a hat trick at Buffalo was Petr Nedved on Feb. 25, 2000.
-The last NHL player to record a hat trick in their NHL debut was Fabian Brunnstrom of the Dallas Stars on Oct. 15, 2008 vs. Nashville.
-Stepan is just the fourth player in NHL history to register a hat trick in their NHL debut.
*Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 33 of 36 shots to record the win, and improve his career record to 4-1-0 in season-opening games.
*Brandon Dubinsky tallied two goals, including a shorthanded empty net goal with 1:25 remaining, and tied for the game-high with four shots on goal. The two goals tied Dubinsky’s career-high, last achieved on Jan. 17, 2010 vs. Montreal.
*The Rangers improved to 35-36-13 all-time in 84 season-opening games, including a 25-27-8 record in 60 season openers away from MSG. New York has now out-scored their opponents, 241-236 in season openers.
*Erik Christensen gave the Rangers a 5-1 lead at 1:08 of the third period, assisted by Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov. Frolov, who was making his Rangers debut, registered his first point as a Blueshirt with the assist.
*Defenseman Dan Girardi and forward Sean Avery each tallied two assists, registering assists on Stepan’s first goal of the game, as well as on the game-winning goal at 18:20 of the second period. Girardi also led the Rangers with three blocked shots and recorded a plus-three rating in a team-high, 23:51 of ice time. Avery tied for the game-high with a plus-three rating in 14:20 of ice time.
*Marc Staal, Artem Anisimov and Ryan Callahan each collected one assist in the contest. Staal registered the only assist on Stepan’s second goal, and he added three blocked shots in 23:31 of ice time. Anisimov recorded the only assist on Dubinsky’s first goal of the game at 15:42 of the opening frame, and won a team-high, nine face-offs in 17:42 of ice time. Callahan registered the only assist on Dubinsky’s shorthanded, empty net goal at 18:35 of the third period, and recorded three hits in 18:53 of ice time.
*Defensemen Michael Del Zotto led the Rangers with four hits in the contest, and added three blocked shots and a plus-three rating in 23:12 of ice time.
*In addition to Stepan and Frolov, forwards Ruslan Fedotenko and Derek Boogaard, and defenseman Steve Eminger also made their Rangers’ debut.
*Rangers’ Head Coach John Tortorella improved to 6-2-0 in eight career season-opening games for a .750 winning percentage.
*The Rangers’ practice schedule for tomorrow, October 10, is 12:00 p.m. at the MSG Training Center.
*The Rangers will return to action on Monday, October 11, when they travel to Long Island to face-off against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum (1:00 p.m.), in a matinee match-up between Atlantic Division rivals. The game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.