Dylan McIlrath, the Rangers' 6-5, 230-pound rookie defenseman, took on Calgary tough guy Brian McGrattan in his first NHL fight in the second period Sunday night. Predictably, he got the worst of it: a cut and a shiner.

But McGrattan told McIlrath, 21, who dropped his gloves regularly in juniors and the AHL, "Good job, kid." And his Rangers teammates acknowledged the effort, awarding him the honorary Broadway Hat.

"I thought that was a very courageous thing to do," coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's testing that opponent and I thought he did a good job of holding his own in the fight . . . It brings a little bit of emotion to the game, and it certainly didn't hurt."

Said Derek Stepan: "Tonight was a good night for us to push back."

McIlrath played only 5:08 as Vigneault employed seven defensemen and relied on Ryan McDonagh to carry the load. He logged 31:01 of ice time and blocked four shots. Justin Falk and John Moore each played less than 10 minutes.

 

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Blue notes

The Rangers' first shootout of the season came in their 34th game, the latest they have gone without one . . . They outshot the Flames 26-10 after the first period . . . Dom Moore, who had an assist and a shootout goal, was 13-4 on faceoffs . . . Forwards Arron Asham and Taylor Pyatt were healthy scratches . . . Henrik Lundqvist started his sixth straight game and figures to be in goal for a while, so Cam Talbot might not get another start until back-to-back games next Sunday and Monday. The Rangers host the Penguins on Wednesday in the sixth game of this nine-game homestand and the Islanders come in on Friday.