NEWARK, N.J. –– Jack Hughes got his first NHL point, and the New Jersey Devils ended a six-game losing streak to begin the season with a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center on Thursday.
Hughes, the center selected No. 1 in the 2019 NHL Draft, had the primary assist on the deciding goal by Miles Wood that gave the Devils a 3-1 lead at 12:25 of the second period. Hughes was in the slot when he deflected a shot by Matt Tennyson that went in off Wood.
“It’s a big win for us; we needed that to get our confidence back,” Hughes said. “Seven out of 10 times, I kind of float to the wall and wouldn’t really go to the front of the net, so maybe I’ll start going to the front of the net more.”
[WATCH: All Rangers vs. Devils highlights]
Blake Coleman, Kyle Palmieri, Nikita Gusev and P.K. Subban scored, Tennyson had two assists, and Mackenzie Blackwood made 29 saves for the Devils (1-4-2).
“Oh man, we needed that bad,” Blackwood said. “Everyone showed up to play, we got bounces that went our way and huge blocks. It was a great team effort from everyone in the lineup. You could sense the desperation in the group, the sacrifice and heart that everyone gave. We’ve been needing this for a little while, and it’s great to get it tonight.”
Tony DeAngelo and Jesper Fast scored, and Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves for the Rangers (2-2-0), who lost their second straight game. New York went 0-for-6 on the power play.
“It’s puck management, we’ve been talking about it forever,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “Sometimes our makeup hurts us; we think we have to make plays all the time. We have to understand situational hockey. The good news is we get to play more hockey to understand it better. It’s tough to emulate it in practice, so we’re going to be able to draw from what happened and be better [Friday].”
It was the first NHL game featuring Hughes and Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko, the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft. Kakko had two shots on goal in 16:13 of ice time for the Rangers. Hughes had two shots on goal in 13:17.
“This rivalry is pretty crazy,” Hughes said. “It seemed like it was 60 percent Devils fans and 40 percent Rangers fans. It’s special to play in because it’s two teams that are pretty similar. It could be a good rivalry for the next couple of years.”
DeAngelo scored with a wrist shot from the slot to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 6:02 of the first period.
Coleman tied it 1-1 on a snap shot from the right face-off circle that hit Georgiev’s mask and trickled between the goalie’s pads at 12:58.
Palmieri scored the first power-play goal of the season for the Devils at 2:18 of the second period for a 2-1 lead. New Jersey had been 0-for-20 and is 1-for-25.
Fast scored at 2:22 of the third period to pull the Rangers within 3-2.
Gusev made it 4-2 when he stole the puck from Artemi Panarin in the left circle and beat Georgiev at 12:21.
Subban scored into an empty net with 48 seconds left for the 5-2 final. It was Subban’s 99th NHL goal and first with the Devils.
“I think we won a lot of 50-50 pucks, and when we didn’t, we worked so hard to get the puck back, and I think that was the difference in the game,” Subban said. “I think our tenacity on the puck and resiliency, that if we lost the puck to get back to make a play, was the difference.”
They said it
“They won the special teams battle, which was the difference in the game. That’s probably as sluggish as we’ve looked on the power play all year. Our power play has got to be better than that. We’ve got to capitalize on the opportunities that we had, because we had plenty.” — Rangers coach David Quinn
“Hearing the ovation when they announced my assist was special. I think they’re big fans of me, so it was pretty cool to look up in the stands and see a couple of Hughes jerseys. It’s exciting, and hopefully I can score a little bit more for them in the future.” — Devils center Jack Hughes
Need to know
Rangers center Mika Zibanejad had six shots on goal in 25:31 of ice time for the Rangers. … New York was playing its first game since a 4-1 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. … The Devils are 7-1-1 against the Rangers at Prudential Center since 2015-16. … Hughes (18 years, 156 days) became the third-youngest player in New Jersey history to score a point (Scott Niedermayer, 18 years, 46 days, Oct. 16, 1991; Craig Wolanin, 18 years, 77 days, Oct. 12, 1985). … Palmieri had five shots on goal and three hits in 14:37. … Subban tied an NHL career high with nine shots on goal in 26:52.
Rangers: At the Washington Capitals on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVAS, NBCSWA, MSG, NHL.TV)
Devils: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, NHL.TV)