ST. LOUIS -- - Capping a high-end effort all over the ice, Rick Nash scored his second goal of the game with 1:50 left Thursday night to give the Rangers a season-opening 3-2 victory over the Blues.
The victory was dampened by the news that veteran defenseman Dan Boyle, playing his first game as a Ranger after being signed as a free agent from San Jose, will miss four to six weeks with a broken right hand after blocking a shot early in the third period.
With the score tied at 2, Nash -- who opened the scoring at 4:01 of the first period after Chris Kreider's steal along the right boards and then sprung Kreider for a breakaway goal in the third -- buried a no-look backhand pass from Martin St. Louis, who slid the puck under defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock had said before the game at Scottrade Center that season openers often have "a level of bizarreness to them," and on the winner, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo's clearing pass caromed off the glass and back into the Blues' end.
"I saw it right away. It hit the glass or the seam and fired back. I was yelling to Marty that it stayed in the zone," Nash said.
Nash scored 26 goals last season but missed 17 games after an early concussion. He had only three goals in the postseason.
The Blues, who beat the Rangers twice last season, had fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits and had a chance to snap a 2-2 tie when Mats Zuccarello was called for tripping behind the Rangers' net with 5:34 to play.
Henrik Lundqvist (23 saves) had to stop three power-play shots in order to seal his first career win against the Blues after four losses.
"Great start for us. Five-on- five, we did a lot of good things. The penalty kill was outstanding; saved us a couple times," Lundqvist said. "The way we responded as a team after each goal was good. You can't expect it to be easy to come into this building."
Ryan McDonagh, who wore the "C'' for the first time, said the Rangers, with eight penalties, "spent a little too much time in the box. We should be moving our feet more, but for the most part, I just loved our compete level."
The Kreider-St. Louis-Nash line, which coach Alain Vigneault assembled because center Derek Stepan is out with a fractured fibula, totaled seven points.
"They made the other team pay when they made some mistakes," Vigneault said.
The Rangers led 1-0 after two periods and took a 2-1 lead when Kreider raced in on a breakaway and beat Brian Elliott on the blocker side at 6:30 of the third. But Paul Stastny tied it with 9:18 left on a deflection off an odd-man rush.
With the Rangers up 1-0 after two periods, Lundqvist tried to bat away a rebound, but Jaden Schwartz, charging the net, beat him to the puck and chipped it over him, tying it at 1:32 of the third period.
But the Rangers prevailed and headed to Columbus for the second game of the season Saturday.
"The last five minutes, it felt like a playoff game,'' Nash said.
Said Vigneault, "We found a way to win in one of the toughest buildings in the league."