A team of Rangers prospects, many of whom competed for the Blueshirts at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., last week, fell to New Jersey 5-2 in a Rookie Game played on Thursday at the Devils' practice facility in Newark, N.J.
Trailing 3-0 after two periods, the Rangers mounted a spirited third-period comeback to pull within a goal before New Jersey's Dan Kelly made it a 4-2 game, and Darcy Zajac added an insurance goal with 5:27 remaining.
The majority of New Jersey's more experienced roster was made up of veteran AHL players, while the Rangers relied heavily on recent draft picks, including Christian Thomas
, Randy McNaught
, Jason Wilson
, and Dylan McIlrath
, who were all drafted this year. In going with such a young lineup, the Rangers dressed only five players who had played as much as half a season in the AHL during their careers.
Kelsey Tessier got the Rangers' first goal of the game at 5:58 of the third period, beating Devils goalie Shane Owen on a rebound from just in front of the net. Ryan Bourque
soon followed with another goal off a feed from Roman Horak, who found Bourque in front with a pass from behind the net. Scott Stajcer
and Cam Talbot
split the goaltending duties for the Rangers, who were outshot 36-21 on the afternoon.
The final period was the most physical, featuring two fights. The first fight saw Rangers prospect Justin Soryal take on Myles Stoesz. The second, more physical fight, featured Rangers 2010 first-round pick McIlrath, who has played a strong game, against New Jersey's Jean-Sebastien Berube.
Leading 2-0 after one period, New Jersey stretched its lead to 3-0 early in the second on a power-play goal by Michael Swift with Rangers defenseman Sam Klassen
in the penalty box. The goal came at 12:16 of the middle period.
At the end of the second period, New Jersey had a 26-15 lead in shots on goal.
New Jersey had needed only 16 seconds of the opening period to take the lead on a goal by former Rangers prospect Chad Wiseman. The Devils went up 2-0 at 1:44 of the period on a goal by Nathan Perkovich.
The Devils outshot the Rangers 14-7 over the first 20 minutes, and the period ended with the Blueshirts in the middle of killing a penalty to Chris Chappell
The first period also included a fight between Rangers 2010 draftee McNaught and New Jersey's Harry Young.