BUFFALO - Brandon Dubinsky began training camp on fire, then seemed to tail off.
But last night, the left wing who scored 20 goals last season, started the regular season with a bang, scoring twice against the Sabres in the 6-3 win.
"Yeah, a good start," said Dubinsky, who will be a restricted free agent next season. "I think we had a few lulls, they had us hemmed in the second period, but we came out with a lot of energy, which we needed to do."
He was in the right spot, charging the net after defenseman Tyler Myers lost his edge behind the cage. Artem Anisimov scooped up the puck and found Dubinsky at the far post at 15:42 of the first period. With just 1:25 left and the Rangers down a man with Ryan Miller pulled, Ryan Callahan pushed the puck ahead to Dubinsky for the shorthanded empty-netter.
"First game and a win on the road is big for us," Dubinsky said.
Henrik stands tall
Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves and improved his career record to 4-1-0 in season-opening games, but it got a little dicey in the final period.
"I knew they were going to start taking more chances once he [Derek Stepan] got the third goal [to make it 4-1]," Lundqvist said. "I thought we played with a lot of confidence. For me personally, I felt pretty good. It got a little tight in the end there, but it's a win and it's a great start for us. We were really good defending the middle.
"Their team, they play a lot around the net, they throw a lot of pucks from the side to try to create stuff and rebounds, and we did a good job taking care of rebounds. I don't want to compare to last year, we're a different team now. We have four lines who are doing a great job, it's been a tough camp, great competition, so everybody here is happy to be here and have a spot."
The six goals were the most by the Rangers in their season opener since their 6-2 win vs. the Devils on Oct. 5, 1983 . . . More Stepan stats: He posted a plus-3 rating in 17:21 of ice time, won 5 of 10 faceoffs . . . Derek Boogaard played a team-low 6:03 . . . The Rangers were outshot 36-28 . . . Defenseman Michael Sauer, the other Rangers rookie in the lineup, played 13:19 and was a plus-1.