Brady Skjei finally lit the lamp for the Rangers in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Devils.
His goal midway through the third period made it 4-1. It was his fourth of the season, but first since Dec. 16, a span of 28 games.
“It’s been a little bit for me to get one, so to finally put one in it felt pretty good,’’ said Skjei. "And it was a good play by Mika (Zibanejad, who passed the puck), and ‘Kreids’ (Chris Kreider, who screened the goalie) in front of the net. I just had to put it on net and it was going in.’’
A native of Lakeville, Minn., Skjei played the game partnered on defense with fellow Minnesotan Neal Pionk. Skjei’s usual partner, Adam McQuaid, was held out of the game, along with Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello, as the Rangers decided not to risk them getting injured two days before the trade deadline.
“It’s a tough game today,’’ Skjei said. “I think everyone obviously has a little emotion to what’s going on. And when you lose guys – or, might lose guys – that are a big part of this team, it’s tough.’’
Devils trade Lovejoy to Stars
As emotional as the game was for the Rangers, the Devils had their own trade stuff to deal with. Before the game, they traded defenseman Ben Lovejoy to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Connor Carrick and a third-round draft pick in 2019.
The Devils were outshot 15-4 in the first period and trailed 3-0. Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev who, in his last game at the Garden made 55 saves in a 4-1 win over Toronto on his 23rd birthday on Feb. 10, admitted the lack of activity was tough.
“It’s a bit challenging, but it’s much easier when the score is 3-0, our way,’’ Georgiev said. “That was a big help and I tried just to be in the game.’’
Georgiev ended up making 19 saves in the game.
Agostino scores first for Devils
Kenny Agostino, who scored the first Devils goal, is from Morristown, NJ. It was his first goal for the Devils, after he was claimed off waivers from Montreal Feb. 11… Rather than take the train after the game from Penn Station to Washington for Sunday’s matinee against the Capitals, the were scheduled to take a flight from Newark to Washington.