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GAME STORY: Devils 4, Rangers 2

Jack Hughes and Taylor Hall each recorded a goal and an assist in a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers

by Chris Wescott TheChrisWescott / NewJerseyDevils.com

NEWARK, NJ - The Devils got off to a fast start, thanks to a pair of their star forwards, and they coasted to a 4-2 pre-season victory over the visiting New York Rangers.

The first period couldn't have been scripted better for the Devils.

Their home crowd was treated to a goal by their 2019 first-overall pick just 34 seconds into the game. That was followed up by a score from Taylor Hall in his first game for the Devils since December.

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The Devils stay in New Jersey to host the New York Islanders on Saturday. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. MST.

By the end of the frame, New Jersey was up 3-0.

Hughes was able to catch the Rangers off guard on a change and he broke in on Henrik Lundqvist, deftly potting his third goal of the pre-season. Hall was credited with an assist on the score.

"It's kind of the perfect way how you want to start a game," said Hughes. "I guess with a [breakaway]. It's pretty good to get on the board early and score there."

Hall buried a feed from Hughes at 11:55 of the opening frame, giving the Devils a 2-0 lead. Kyle Palmieri recorded the second assist on the power-play goal.

"It was good," Hall said of his return. "A little sore right now, but that's to be expected after your first game back. There's a lot of new things involved and the game is a lot longer than practice is so you've got to stay warm and stay loose, but overall is was a pretty good first game for me and I'm feeling pretty good."

The trio of Hall, Hughes and Kyle Palmieri provides a dynamic line combination for New Jersey.

"[Hall] was the MVP of the league two years ago," said Hughes. "Just a really high-skilled, smart player. I mean, that's a lot of fun to play with him and Palms tonight. I don't know if we're gonna play much together, but it was a lot of fun tonight."

Newcomer Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves for the Devils, squaring off with Ryan Lindgren at 14:07 of the first. Simmonds left the ice fired up and let Lindgren hear it from the penalty box.

Simmonds was signed in free agency to a one-year, $5 million contract. The veteran power forward will be relied upon to provide toughness and leadership to this Devils roster.

Blake Coleman, assisted by Travis Zajac, made it a 3-0 game at 18:00 of the first when he ripped a shot past Lundqvist from the face-off dot.

The Rangers got on the board, courtesy of Vladislav Namestnikov at 3:49 of the second period.

Michael McLeod increased the lead back to three goals when he drove to the net and scored at 13:58 of the second.

22 seconds into a late third-period power play, the Rangers made it a two-goal game. Brett Howden scored at 15:02 of the final period of play. That was the last of the scoring.

This was the second time this week the Devils and Rangers met and, for the second time, the decision went to the team from New Jersey.

The Devils now set their sights on the Islanders, who come to the Prudential Center on Saturday night.

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