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It's taken one game for Markus Naslund to make an impact for the New York Rangers.
Naslund looks to lead his new team to another victory as they close out their two-game, season-opening set against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in the Czech Republic.
After spending almost 12 seasons with Vancouver, Naslund signed a two-year, $8 million contract with New York (1-0-0) in July. The 35-year-old agreed to the deal shortly after Czech native Jaromir Jagr left the Rangers as a free agent to sign with the new KHL in Russia.
Naslund was a five-time All-Star with Vancouver, and is the franchise leader in goals (346) and points (756).
He finished among Vancouver's top scorers with 25 goals and 55 points last season, and hopes to contribute to the Rangers' offense, which was led by Jagr - a two-time Stanley Cup champion who had 71 points in 2007-08.
"I didn't replace Jaromir I don't think anyone can," said Naslund, who played parts of three seasons with Jagr in Pittsburgh from 1993-1996. "I'm just trying to find my game and playing to my potential."
Naslund made sure he did that during the NHL's opening weekend, scoring late in the second period before Brandon Dubinsky provided the winning tally on a power play with 5:44 left to lift New York to a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Center Scott Gomez told the Rangers' official Web site that having Naslund on the team has made his job easier.
"Naslund is a world-class player," said Gomez, who assisted on the game-winning goal. "He could have had three or four goals tonight. Playing with him, and (Chris) Drury, really makes my job easy."
Naslund, Gomez and Drury combined for 12 shots for the Rangers, who held a 41-21 edge and won their fourth straight season opener.
"We created a lot of scoring chances and certainly could score a couple more goals with the way we were playing," said Dubinsky, who had 14 goals and 26 assists during his first full season in 2007-08.
Two-time Vezina Trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves to improve to 7-4-2 with a 1.91 goals-against average in 13 all-time starts versus the Lightning.
Tampa Bay (0-1-0) seeks to avoid its first 0-2-0 start since opening 2001 with three straight defeats, and give new coach Barry Melrose his first victory in his return to the bench.
Melrose coached Los Angeles from 1992-95, taking that club to the Stanley Cup finals in 1993. He'll be trying to accomplish a similar feat for the Lightning, who finished last season with the fewest wins in the league and tied the Kings for last with 71 points.
"It's a very tough loss because we played so hard," he said. "We did a lot of good things defensively. Our offensive players had the chances."
Lecavalier led Tampa Bay with 40 goals and 92 points, while St. Louis had a team-best 58 assists and was second with 83 points last season.
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