NEW YORK - The New Jersey Devils squared off with the Rangers on Saturday night, the first time this regular season the two teams have met. At Madison Square Garden, the Devils returned to the win column just one night after suffering their first loss of the season, taking down their cross-Hudson rivals, 3-2.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
1. With both the Devils and the Rangers having played Friday night, it was a battle of the backups at the Garden on Saturday. Both teams started their backup goaltenders, meaning New Jersey's Keith Kinkaid faced off against New York's Ondrej Pavelec.
2. Drew Stafford returned to the lineup for the first time since he was injured in the seaon opener against Colorado. This caused some line changes and bumped Stefan Noesen out of the lineup. Stafford was slotted back onto the second line with Marcus Johansson and Nico Hischier, while Jesper Bratt moved down to the third line on Adam Henrique's left side and Jimmy Hayes on the right. On defense, Ben Lovejoy was back in the lineup after sitting out on Friday. Dalton Prout, after playing his first game of the season on Friday, was taken out of the lineup.
3. Kinkaid had a very busy beginning of the game. He was forced to make six saves in the opening four minutes. It took the Devils 7:30 to register their first shot on net, a power play slap shot by Damon Severson. Kinkaid made 14 saves to finish the first period, while the Devils only had three on Pavelec. All three of those shots in the first period came from defensemen (Severson 2, Santini 1).
4. Johansson is clearly turning into one of the leaders of this New Jersey Devils team. Coach John Hynes had said at the beginning of the season he would be rotating the alternate captaincies while the leadership group was being worked out and Travis Zajac remained out of the lineup. For a fourth straight game, Johansson wore an "A" on his jersey. No other player on the roster has had an "A" in four consecutive games. Adam Henrique was the other player serving as an alternate captain in New York.
5. Through the blender went the lines after the first period. Displeased with his team registering just three shots in the first period, Hynes completely switched up his lines to start the second period. Here is how it shook out:
6. The line of Johansson-Zacha-Hayes did not get much of an opportunity to contribute. Johansson and Hayes played just two shifts each in the second period while Zacha played just one that lasted 25 seconds.
7. Henrique got the Devils on the board in the second period, when he roofed a shot over Pavelec. Henrique took a perfect feed from Blake Coleman, who picked the assist on the goal. It was just the eighth shot of the game for the Devils. Henrique now has 12 points in 25 career games against the Rangers.
8. Will Butcher continues to rack up assists. He assisted on Miles Wood second period 2-1 goal and Drew Staffords third period 3-1 goal, his seventh and eighth of the year.Butcher currently leads all NHL rookies in points. He is followed by another Devils rookie in Jesper Bratt, who has six points (3g-3a).
9. Nico Hischier took an elbow to the face from Rick Nashwith 3:02 left in the second period. Nash was handed a two-minute penalty for elbowing, much to the dismay of the Devils' fans in the crowd. Though the hit looked rough, Hischier didn't miss any time and would later assist on Stafford's third period goal for his second NHL point.
10. The Devils don't play again until Tuesday, when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 7:30 p.m. matchup at Prudential Center. Tickets are available.