Ruslan Fedotenko and Artem Anisimov scored first-period goals, and Martin Biron made 24 saves in his Rangers’ debut as New York beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Thursday night.
Biron was strong in goal for the Rangers (2-2-1), who despite missing top forwards Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury, earned their first victory since opening night at Buffalo.
Colby Armstrong scored for Toronto, who lost in regulation for the first time (4-1-1). It was the second straight game the Maple Leafs failed to score more than one goal.
Leafs coach Ron Wilson juggled his forward lines for the first time all season but couldn’t coax much out of them.
The Maple Leafs were missing the energy that has propelled them to a strong start this season. New York was a much hungrier team, winning battles to the puck and playing with urgency throughout.
Initially, the Rangers had trouble beating Jonas Gustavsson. The Toronto goalie looked sharp in turning away Ryan Callahan’s chance with his blocker and shutting the door on Anisimov’s rush.
Fedotenko eventually broke through, scoring his first goal with the Rangers at 16:11 of the first period by finding a loose puck that had slipped behind Gustavsson during a goal-mouth scramble. Anisimov made it 2-0 just 61 seconds later by converting a pass from defenseman Michal Rozsival.
That was a nice cushion for Biron, who wasn’t tested very much in the opening 40 minutes. Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski, Toronto’s top two centers, are still without a goal. Wilson began tinkering with his forward lines towards the end of the second period.
Armstrong ended Biron’s shutout bid at 11:04 of the third period. Clarke MacArthur made a nice move to carry the puck into the zone and rang a shot off the mask of the goalie before Armstrong put in the rebound.
When New York forward Brandon Prust took a hooking penalty just 12 seconds after the goal, the Leafs were in good position to push for the tie. But they failed to beat Biron for a fifth time with the man advantage — something that plagued Toronto last season.