NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Rookie Jack Hughes got his first NHL point, P.K. Subban scored his first goal with New Jersey and the Devils got a strong team effort to pick up their first win of the season.
Kyle Palmieri and Miles Wood scored in the second period, and New Jersey held off the New York Rangers 5-2 Thursday night to end a season-opening six-game losing streak.
Blake Coleman and Nikita Gusev also scored and Matt Tennyson had two assists for the Devils, who came in 0-4-2. Mackenzie Blackwood finished with 29 saves.
“Oh man, we needed that bad,” Blackwood said. “Everyone showed up to play today and we got bounces that went our way. Huge blocks and a great team effort. … You could sense the desperation in the group and sacrifice everyone gave to the game.”
The Devils came in tied for last in the league on the power play and last on the penalty kill, but got their first man-advantage score of the season and held the Rangers to 0 for 6.
“The (penalty kill) was due,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “There were little things that were going on that we felt we adjusted it. … Those guys dug in and that’s the type of penalty kill we expect and that’s the type of penalty kill we want to see moving forward.”
Tony DeAngelo and Jesper Fast had goals for the Rangers, who had played just three games in the first 14 days of the season. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 33 shots.
“I thought that was the most energetic game we played, the most physical game,” New York coach David Quinn said. “We established some sort of forecheck. There were signs of what we’re going to need to do to have success, so there are some silver linings, but at the end of the game you got to win a hockey game.”
This was the first matchup between Hughes and New York’s Kaapo Kakko, who were selected with the first two picks in this year’s draft. Hughes, centering the top line against the Rangers in place of Nico Hischier, came in without a point, while Kakko has one goal.
With the Devils leading 3-1 after two periods, Ryan Strome sent a pass in front to Fast from the left corner, and Fast poked it into the open net for his first at 2:22 of the third.
Hall nearly restored New Jersey’s two-goal lead at 7:08, but it was waved off because the officials said Hall pushed it in with his hand. Hynes challenged and the call stood, resulting in a delay-of-game penalty.
Moments after a Devils power play expired, Gusev intercepted Artemi Panarin’s pass, skated in and beat Georgiev for his third with 7:39 remaining.
Subban, who joined the Devils in an offseason trade, added an empty-netter in the final minute.
With the score tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Palmieri got the puck off the faceoff, brought the puck into the right circle, pulled it back to get around defenseman Marc Staal and as Georgiev went down to cut off his angle, Palmieri fired it top shelf for his third at 2:18 of the second. It was New Jersey’s first power-play goal of the season after they failed on their first 20 chances, including two in the first period
Nearly seven minutes into the period, New Jersey’s Taylor Hall left his feet and, leading with his elbow, delivered a hard hit high on defenseman Adam Fox, who was down on the ice behind the Rangers’ net for several minutes.
Wood put New Jersey up 3-1 as he deflected Tennyson’s shot from the right point past Georgiev from in front with 7:35 left. Hughes got an assist, drawing a loud ovation from the crowd when it was added minutes after the initial announcement of the goal.
“I knew I assisted it,” Hughes said. “It’s the NHL. I knew they were going to fix it. Just nice to figure out how to get on the board finally.”
The Rangers got on the scoreboard first for the fourth time in four games this season on DeAngelo’s backhander off a rebound.
Coleman tied it with 7:02 remaining in the first as fired a shot from the right circle that hit Georgiev’s mask, rolled down his body and went between his legs and in.
Hischier was out with an upper-body injury and is day to day. New Jersey improved to 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings at home against the Rangers. The teams play three more times this season: Nov. 30 at Prudential Center, and Jan. 9 and March 7 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers lost in regulation against the Devils for the sixth time in the last 24 meetings, falling to 14-6-4. The Rangers began a stretch of five games in eight days.
Rangers: At Washington on Friday night to complete their first back-to-back of the season.
Devils: Host Vancouver on Saturday before a stretch of two games in 12 days.
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