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Pirri Remains Hot in Win Over Devils at MSG

Forward scores two, adds an assist

by Matt Calamia @NYRangers / NYRangers.com

Forward Brandon Pirri continued to make a strong argument that he should be among head coach Alain Vigneault's 13 forwards two weeks from tonight when the Rangers open the regular season against the Islanders.

The 25-year-old picked up a pair of goals and added an assist in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

After picking up an assist on John Gilmour's power play goal just 3:21 into the contest, Pirri added a pair of goals in the first and third period to bring his total to three in two games, and five points overall, including a point on each of the Rangers' four power play goals in the preseason.

Pirri's first goal of the night came at 9:35 of the first period when he buried a loose puck behind goaltender Scott Wedgewood to put the Rangers up 2-0. 

Video: NJD@NYR: Pirri knocks home rebound

After New Jersey trimmed the Rangers' lead to 2-1 at 13:00 of the second period on a goal by Miles Wood, PIrri struck again when his blast from the circle inched its way through Wedgewood and over the line to put New York back up by two.

"You take them when you can get them," said Pirri, who played 14:38, including 5:13 on the power play. "It's hard to score in this league, even in the preseason, so things are going well right now."

Pirri said the internal competition for roster spots is bringing out the best in everyone.

"The harder we push each other and the better we work together, the bigger impression we're going to make," Pirri said. "There's competition in this locker room, but at the same time, if we're all doing well we're all going to be noticed."

While much of the attention was on the debuting Jimmy Vesey, it was Gilmour, another college free agent signed by the Rangers in August, who made a big impression on the coaching staff with a goal and an assist on Pirri's second of the night.

Gilmour, 23, one-timed a Kevin Hayes pass from just inside the Devils zone through traffic and beat Wedgewood to open the scoring early.

Video: NJD@NYR: Gilmour rips a shot past Wedgewood

He showed poise in the third period when he walked the puck to the top of the circle before feeding Pirri with a hard pass that he one-timed into the net to put the game out of reach.

"It was really cool stepping on the ice," said Gilmour, who finished the night with 21:24 and three shots on goal. "Even during warmups, MSG was pretty electric. IT was a good first night. I was fortunate to get a goal and kind of get my feet wet a little bit. It was a good time - a great time."

Vigneault said he was impressed with the youngester, both on the power play and off.

"For a young guy playing in his first game and getting an opportunity on the power play, I thought he was very confident in his abilities," Vigneault said. "I thought he moved the puck real well and not just on the power play but going back and trying to beat the forecheck and skate with it in, trying to find the open man."

Vesey, though, was not quiet. He wasted little time bringing The Garden crowd to its feet when he broke in alone on the game's opening shift and drew a power play. 

 

 

Goaltender Antti Raanta allowed one goal on 16 shots before giving way to Mackenzie Skapski, who was perfect in 27 minutes, finishing with 10 saves.

The Rangers' special teams continued to be a bright spot, with the power play going 2-for-5 and the penalty kill a perfect 5-for-5. Through two games, the Rangers have outscored their opponents 5-0 in special teams, including one shorthanded goal. The PK remains perfect at 11-for-11.

The Rangers, who are off tomorrow, head to New Jersey to take on the Devils Saturday night in Newark.

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