Dylan McIlrath's NHL debut covered 8:55. McIlrath, who led the AHL in penalty minutes with 115, didn't drop the gloves, although he would have been called for a penalty for a high stick on Boone Jenner when he was caught up ice, leading to a three-on-one rush on Artem Anisimov's goal that made it 2-0.
"I tried to keep it simple as best as I could," said the 6-5 defenseman. "I know I made a rookie mistake there on that pinch that cost us a goal. Other than that, I can't complain about my first game too much."
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McIlrath, 21, a first-round pick in 2010 who played on the third pair with John Moore, needed time to calm down. "I had to get my nerves under control," he said. "Once I settled down, I thought in the second and third periods I started making better reads."
His best chance to score came on a shot from the right point that struck Brian Boyle and deflected wide.
"He definitely brings size and physicality," coach Alain Vigneault said after McIlrath was summoned from Hartford because Marc Staal is recovering from a concussion. "Hopefully he can do it on this level."
Brad Richards had nine shots but was a minus-3, including a bad read that led to the first goal. "Seventy-five to 80 percent of the time, the team that scores the first goal usually wins," Vigneault said. "We worked on making sure we have a high forward [defensively] in all situations. One of our most experienced players sneaks in and sees something that obviously I don't see and they make it a three-on-two and make us pay for it."
Boyle won 10 of 11 faceoffs and Dominic Moore went 7-for-7 . . . Former Blue Jacket Derick Brassard, who has a lower-body injury that is hindering his skating, was scratched. With Calgary in Sunday, the Rangers hope to brake the skid. "Being home for nine in a row was a chance for us to really propel us up the standings," Dan Girardi said. "Hopefully we can figure out how to salvage the rest of the homestand and get back to .500 or better."