In an effort to lighten the mood during the lockout, The New York Rangers Blog will be writing faux recaps of every Rangers game missed due to the work stoppage. Enjoy.
Albany, NY – In a minor act of revenge, Devils 2012 first round pick Stefan Matteau, son of Rangers 1994 hero Stephane Matteau, scored the game winner 4:21 into the second overtime (yes, I know there's not two overtimes in preseason, but this is a faux recap and I can do whatever I want) on a wrap around attempt from behind the net to give New Jersey the 2-1 overtime win over the cross river rival New York Rangers in each teams' first preseason game at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Matteau swooped in to intercept the pass behind the net, swept the puck in front to score the goal against Rangers goaltending prospect Scott Stacjer (28 saves) as Devils television analyist Chico Resch could be heard screaming "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau" from the press box.
"It may not be Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals but it gave me a lot of closure tonight," said Martin Brodeur, who made 15 saves in one and a half periods of action. One for each donut he ate on the bench during the final 30 minutes of action.
In another nostalgic moment, Rangers head coach John Tortorella began the game with a line of Aaron Asham, Stu Bickel and Mike Rupp, which was quickly responded to by Devils head coach Pete DeBoer, who sent out David Clarkson, Ryan Carter and Cam Janssen.
And as was the case six months earlier, a nasty line brawl ensued resulting in the three Rangers players pounding their Devils combatant into submission. While the two head coaches had to be physically restrained by the assistant coaches and players on the bench.
"I wanted to send a message right away that we weren't happy with the way last season ended," Tortorella exclaimed. "Plus I heard DeBoer and the Devils players aren't dog lovers and they must pay for that injustice."
Once the actual hockey game began, the man brought in to jump start the Rangers offense went to work. Playing on his first shift as a Blueshirt, Rick Nash converted a sweet pass from behind the net from linemate Brad Richards. The goal was setup by the speed of Carl Hagelin, as he was able to negate an icing moments before the Nash tally.
"It's finally great to be on a team with NHL talent," Nash explained. "I should have demanded a trade years ago."
A NHL record was broken during the game as Michael Del Zotto, who was recently forced to sign a miniscule two-year, $500,000 contract due to the new CBA, shot the puck wide 27 times shattering his old mark of 25 set last season.
Meanwhile, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh combined for 100 minutes of ice time as Tortorella didn't feel confident using Stu Bickel in such a close game.
Henrik Lundqvist was a late scratch as his nanny canceled last minute and because his wife was out of town he needed to watch his baby daughter.
On the Devils side, Ilya Kovalchuk went pointless as the Rangers rendered him powerless by putting on Sean Avery masks every time he was on the ice.
"I don't care if it wasn't actually Avery, something about him just gets me off my game," Kovalchuk noted. "Remember that playoff game when I was with Atlanta?
"It's a good thing Avery wasn't on the Rangers during the post season last year, because they would have totally beat us."
The remainder of the Devils line-up was filled with players from their AHL affiliate in Albany. Wait, that's their NHL roster? Hahahahaha!
Rangers fans also caught a glimpse of their future as a line of Chris Kreider, JT Miller and Christian Thomas flew up and down the ice all night long.
"We ain't no Hugh Jessiman, Pavel Brendl and Jamie Lundmark. We're the real deal," said a jubilant Kreider after the game.
The Rangers next preseason game is scheduled for Friday night also against the Devils in Newark.