With a goal and assist in his Rangers debut, Jayson Megna made the most of a golden opportunity.
“We got a spark from Liquid-Hot,” quipped Marc Staal after Megna, 25, who stepped in for Chris Kreider on a line with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash, a trio that produced seven points against the Stars. Megna, who played 48 games with the Penguins over the last two seasons and signed as a free agent in July, was summoned from Hartford and delivered, with seven shot attempts in 11:51. “He didn’t miss a step out there,” said Nash.
Megna won’t be returned to the AHL immediately, and may have put Emerson Etem’s job as a spare forward in some jeopardy.
“He’s going to be here tomorrow,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “Jayson had a real good night with those two and we’ll see what we do here moving forward.”
Kreider, who missed his first game of the season with a cut on his right hand, is expected to play against Washington on Saturday.
“I think I’m effective when I skate hard and compete,” said Megna, who had just five goals in those 48 NHL games. “Those were two great players I was out there with. They were talking to me the whole game. It was a cool thing to be able to do.”
He is the first Ranger to have at least a goal and assist in his debut since Derek Brassard (1-3-4) and Ryane Clowe (2-1-3) on April 3, 2013.
His goal, as 13:38 of the third on a 2-on-1 with Nash, “kind of came under the defenseman and I just had my stick on the ice and it went right off it, off the post and in. It was unbelievable.”
Vigneault compared the defensive effort and scoring opportunities to the 3-0 loss in Florida on Jan. 2. “We did a lot of the same things, this time we scored. Execution was good.” . . . The Rangers, who tied a season-high with six goals (Nov. 12 vs. St. Louis), are 15-5-1 at home . . . D Kevin Klein had two assists and Rangers blueliners had four points . . . Stepan won 10 of 15 faceoffs . . . The Blueshirts were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-3 on the power play . . . Nash played in his 900th game.