We all felt that Derek Stepan had a chance to be fun to watch. However, a hat trick in his NHL debut? No way! Last night, in Buffalo, he became only the fourth player to record a trick in his first NHL game.
Fabian Brunnstrom for the Stars in 2008
Real Cloutier for the Nordiques in 1979
Alex Smart for the Canadiens in 1943
Time will tell if the Rangers are better then the Sabres. Last night, however, they without question out-worked them. It was all about second-effort that won the game. Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Sean Avery all made plays through hard work.
On Dubinsky's first goal, Tyler Myers of the Sabres fell down. Anisimov hustled to the puck. Instead of rushing a wrap around he grabbed the puck and found Dubinsky for the goal. A great example of hard work and poise.
It was the home opener for the Sabres in one of the best hockey towns in the U.S. The crowd was nuts early. But the play of the Rangers and scoring the first goals silenced the crowd. Not a seat to be had at the HSBC Arena and you could hear a pin drop.
Rangers will play the Islanders Monday afternoon with a real chance to start the year 2-0. The Isles will be without Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo because of injury. Plus, John Tavares suffered a mild concussion Saturday night against Dallas.