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New Ranger Jarret Stoll has fond memories of Garden

New York Rangers center Jarret Stoll faces off

New York Rangers center Jarret Stoll faces off against Philadelphia Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier during the first period of an NHL preseason game at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Jarret Stoll, one of the newest Rangers, already has a keepsake or two from long ago at Madison Square Garden.

"Scored my first goal here,'' Stoll, 33, said before the Rangers faced the Flyers on Monday night in the fifth of six preseason games. "Against Mike Dunham; think it was '03 or '04.''

Was it a highlight-reel goal?

"Well, it was in the slot, turnaround slapper,'' he said. "Still have the puck, and someone gave me a game ticket. Maybe now that I'm here, I should have them put in a frame.''

The goal came Nov. 10, 2003, and Stoll, then 20, was with the Oilers. Now, 139 goals later, and having sipped from the Stanley Cup twice with the Kings after being traded in June 2008, the Saskatchewan native finds himself back at the Garden.

A center who forged a career as one of the league's more accomplished faceoff artists (a .551 percentage), Stoll agreed this summer to a one-year, $800,000 deal as a free agent.

Before signing with the Rangers, Stoll was arrested on drug charges in April in Las Vegas but pleaded down to two non-drug misdemeanors in June and did community service.

On Monday night, Stoll took a turn at wing, where he had not played "for about five years,'' with Dom Moore in the middle.

Not only did Stoll expect an adjustment, but the system that Alain Vigneault deploys is different from some coaches.

"The way this team plays,'' Stoll said, "the wings run those slashes through the neutral zone'' when in transition from their own end.

"It's [being comfortable] with that slashing and making that read. In the defensive zone, they play first guy back -- so I'm comfortable with that -- and possession play. And on the offensive side of things, it's 'if you can go, go.' ''

He had played 32 minutes in two preseason games, at Philadelphia and Boston.

"They don't count in the standings, but they count every other way,'' he said. "Two games left. Personally, I want to play in both games, just to get your timing, just to get your legs going, your hands going, all the reads. These two games are going to be quicker than the previous ones.

"We know how close the regular season is, so it's important for everybody to get their game going and feeling confident.''

Notes & quotes: Keith Yandle scored on a penalty shot at 1:16 of overtime, snapping a wrister over Steve Mason's stick side to give the Rangers a 3-2 win. The Rangers' Chris Kreider scored with 1:07 left in the third period to force OT.

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