Brett Howden gave the Rangers a 5-4 lead with 4:09 to play, and the Blueshirts held on for a come-from-behind win over the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at The Garden, 6-4, in the season-opening game for both teams.
Mika Zibanejad had a goal and three assists. Newcomer Jacob Trouba had a goal and two assists. And Antemiy Panarin had a goal and an assist in his first game as a Ranger.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 43-of-47 shots, and recorded his 450th career win.
Marc Staal scored the team’s first goal of the season, 11:35 into the 1st period, to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead. Mark Scheifele tied the game, 1-1, at 17:23.
The teams traded goals in the 2nd period; Panarin and Trouba for the Rangers and Blake Wheeler scoring a pair of goals for the Jets, and the game was tied, 3-3, after 40 minutes.
In the 3rd, Kyle Connor‘s goal at 2:41 gave Winnipeg a 4-3 lead, but Zibanejad beat Conor Hellebuyck with a nifty backhander to tie the game, 4-4. That set the stage for Howden’s game-winner; he stuffed a rebound in at the 15:51 mark of the 3rd for the go-ahead goal.
Brendan Smith scored an empty-net goal with 17 seconds to play for the final 6-4 margin.
The Rangers [now 1-0-0, 2 pts] play the Senators Saturday night in Ottawa.