Jayson Megna and Brian Gibbons impress in Rangers 6-3 preseason win over Devils

They played a preseason game over at 33rd and 7th. The Rangers defeated the Devils 6-3 in the first exhibition for the Garden hosts.

It was the Devils’ second game in two nights. They also lost to the Bruins Sunday night 2-0. At least in this one they scored doing so with three goals coming all on the power play. The goals came off the sticks of Jordin Tootoo, Mike Sislo and Adam Larsson.

For the Blueshirts, the goalscorers were Brian Gibbons, Jayson Megna (2), Chris Kreider, Viktor Stalberg and Oscar Lindberg. They jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with Gibbons tallying 21 seconds in and Megna snapping one past Devils starter Cory Schneider a few minutes later. Schneider played the first half before giving way to Yann Danis, who allowed three goals including Kreider’s twisted wrister from the right circle top that put the Rangers back up 3-2.

Stalberg followed 1:12 later when he beat Danis from a bad angle. He used his speed to go around the Devils defense and surprised Danis making it a two-goal lead. Lindberg increased the lead to 4-2 when he got to the carom of a Ryan Bourque wide shot and fired off a Devil defenseman for a seeing eye goal. Brady Skjei made a great defensive play using his stick to break up a Devil chance. He calmly poked the puck away which sent Bourque in. He fired off the goalpost and Lindberg got the rebound and finished.

Most impressive were Megna and Gibbons in their Broadway debuts. Brought in as free agents from the Penguins, each impressed finding early chemistry. On the Rangers’ final tally- a 5-on-3 goal- Gibbons coolly dished across for Megna who fired past Danis in the last minute for his second marker. Neither is expected to make the roster. But they each demonstrated speed and skill which had to please the coaching staff.

Lindberg played on a checking line with Bourque and Jesper Fast. They were effective on the forecheck throughout. Antti Raanta and Magnus Hellberg split duty in net with each faring okay. Raanta had 11 saves and Hellberg made 12.

Dylan McIlrath also dressed. He drew a penalty late on Tootoo which led to Megna’s second tally. But the big defenseman also got nabbed for an illegal check to the head which led to the Devils’ first power play goal. Those are the kind he must stay away from.

For the Devils, Larsson played a lot with Andy Greene which should make up their top pair. They killed penalties together. Marc-Andre Gragnani helped set up Sislo’s goal teaming up with Greene to set up his bank shot off a Ranger skate.

Tyler Kennedy made a nice feed in front for Tootoo’s PPG. The gritty veteran forward is on a PTO. He helped his chances. Former Ranger John Moore also got credit for a secondary assist.

The Rangers play the Flyers tomorrow on MSG. It’ll again be Raanta and Hellberg in net.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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