The Rangers' Derek Stepan tries to fend off Devils defenseman...

The Rangers' Derek Stepan tries to fend off Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov during a preseason game. (Sept. 23, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Derek Stepan didn't waste any time getting used to his star linemates and recording a point at Madison Square Garden.

Playing on the Rangers' top line with Marian Gaborik and Alexander Frolov, the 20-year-old center circled in the high slot on the power play and found Frolov in the left circle. Frolov redirected the pass to Gaborik, who beat the Devils' Martin Brodeur just 6:43 into Stepan's first game on Broadway.

Frolov had a goal and two assists and Gaborik scored two power- play goals, including the game-winner at 3:12 of overtime, as the Rangers began their six-game preseason schedule with a 4-3 victory.

"He had some jump, had [four] shots," Gaborik said of Stepan. "He's not afraid to make plays."

"You just hand off the puck to them," said Stepan, who was on ice for two of the Devils' goals but was solid overall. "I was telling Ryan [McDonagh, his Wisconsin teammate], the first scrimmage, I picked up the puck, I turned around, and Gabby was already behind both defensemen. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it."

Stepan played 18:14, was 5-for-10 on faceoffs and skated on the power play and penalty kill.

"I don't think he gets too uptight about who he's playing with," coach John Tortorella said. "He did a pretty good job. That's what I like about him. I think he can handle these situations and not get blown away by it."

With his performance at the Traverse City prospects tournament and in scrimmages, Stepan, the team's 2008 second-round draft pick from Hastings, Minn., has provided evidence that he's capable of making the jump from college and contributing for the Rangers this season.

"Things keep getting faster, from college to scrimmages to here," said Stepan, who had 42 assists to lead the NCAA and captained Team USA to the gold medal in the 2010 World Junior Championships. "I've got to learn how to fend off bigger, stronger guys on faceoffs, but it was a good start. It was a good atmosphere."

Tortorella moved Erik Christensen between Gaborik and Frolov late in the game. Stepan said he expects to be moved around.

"We're trying to get used to each other," Stepan said.

McDonagh, the other former Wolverine who left school early to turn pro, played 19:21, almost all with veteran Michal Rozsival, and had no shots, but he was a plus-1.

"He had some really good shifts and other times, he struggled, but we expect that," Tortorella said. "There was a little bit of speed coming down his side where at times there was a little bit of a struggle, but he's got good feet. He just has to understand handling the gap, not lunging. That'll come, I think."

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