Before Arron Asham's first game as a Ranger Sunday night, coach John Tortorella said: "He brings an element of toughness. I'm anxious to see him on that [fourth] line, and maybe elsewhere . . . I don't expect him to be a saint. The way he plays, you need to allow him to be himself."
Asham, who has played for every Atlantic Division team, was on the ice for the opening faceoff on a line with Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Two seconds later, Asham's gloves were off. He and Penguins winger Tanner Glass, with whom he fought last season, engaged in a rousing bout along the boards.
By the end of the period, Asham had played just 1:58 more and was back on the fourth line.
Ex-Rangers salute fans
Eleven Ranger alums, including Ed Giacomin, Ron Greschner, Steve Vickers, John Vanbiesbrouck and Adam Graves, welcomed fans and walked through the stands during the game, thanking them for their support after the lockout. In a scoreboard video, captain Ryan Callahan said the team was happy to be back home and told fans: "This season is for you."
Twenty fans representing generations of ticketholders received team-signed sticks. Another scoreboard shot showed Henrik Lundqvist and teammates raising their sticks on ice with the words: "We Salute You."
RW Brandon Segal was returned to Hartford after one game. Tortorella said he was concerned about the pace, and that Segal needed to work on that in the AHL . . . In home openers since 2003-04, the Rangers had been 4-1-1-2 . . . Before James Neal's power-play goal in the first, the Blueshirts had killed all seven penalties in Boston . . . The Rangers were 10-2-2 in second games of back-to-backs last season; they have five more sets this season, the fewest in the NHL . . . Defensemen Matt Gilroy and Steve Eminger were healthy scratches for the second straight game.