Before the puck dropped on the first home game of the 2021-22 season at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers said goodbye to one of their all-time greats as the team honored legendary Ranger Rod Gilbert, who died August 22 at the age of 80.

Gilbert, "Mr. Ranger,’’ is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 406 goals and 1,021 points, having played his entire 18-year career with the Blueshirts. Thursday was the 42nd anniversary of the night when Gilbert’s No. 7 was the first jersey to be retired by the Rangers.

The celebration for Gilbert was quite understated. For warmups, all the Rangers players skated in white jerseys with the No. 7 and the name Gilbert on the back, and the fans in attendance observed a seven-second moment of silence before a tribute video was played on the video board.

T-shirts honoring the late Ranger Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert are...

T-shirts honoring the late Ranger Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert are seen on seats prior to the home opening game against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

A T-shirt with Gilbert’s No. 7 was placed on every seat before the game and his number was displayed on the ice from a spotlight while the ceremony was going on. Gilbert’s family was in attendance and received warm applause from the crowd, and his wife, Judy, dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff as Rangers alternate captain Mika Zibanejad and Dallas captain Jamie Benn took part at center ice.

Judy Gilbert, wife of the late Rod Gilbert, acknowledges the...

Judy Gilbert, wife of the late Rod Gilbert, acknowledges the crowd after dropping the ceremonial first puck before a game between the Rangers and the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

In the first period, a former teammate of Gilbert’s, Brad Park, was in attendance and shown on the video board during a stoppage in play.

Lundkvist makes debut

Besides starting Igor Shesterkin in goal, coach Gerard Gallant made two other changes from Wednesday night. He inserted defenseman Nils Lundkvist in place of Jarred Tinordi, and dressed Julien Gauthier in place of Sammy Blais, who missed the game due to a lower-body injury. Blais, who collided with Filip Chytil in the third period Wednesday and appeared a little shaken, is day-to-day, according to Gallant.

Lundkvist, making his NHL debut, was sent out on the ice by himself before the rest of the team for warmups, according to tradition.

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