Two games into his NHL career, J.T. Miller is showing the New York Rangers that he's here to stay.
In his Madison Square Garden debut, the 2011 first-round draft pick Miller didn't disappoint, netting two goals for the Rangers en route to a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders.
The Rangers are now 2-5-0 vs. the Atlantic Division, and they are 5-5-0 overall on the season.
Miller, who won't turn 20-years-old until March, got the scoring going just 1:29 into the game. The Islanders (4-5-1, nine points) turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and Miller raced in, stole the puck, and took it into the offensive zone. The youngster briefly lost the puck, but he was able to kick it to the blade of his stick and take a shot that beat Evgeni Nabokov.
Captain Ryan Callahan went into the net to retrieve the puck for the rookie, as it was his first career NHL goal.
Later in the first period, Marian Gaborik ended his four-game pointless streak by scoring his sixth goal of the season. Marc Staal took a shot from the point that Nabokov handled, but the rebound went to a wide-open Marian Gaborik. The Islanders apparently forgot to forgave a person right in front of the net; Gaborik made them pay by picking his spot and beating Nabokov to put the team up 2-0.
That was the score after one period, which marked the best first period the Rangers have played this season.
In the second period, John Tavares opened the scoring, cutting the lead 2-1. Then, while the Rangers were on the power play, Henrik Lundqvist made the most important of his 27 saves on the night.
Miller lost the puck in the neutral zone, and Michael Grabner corralled it with a full head of steam. He went one-on-one with Lundqvist, and the Swedish star stopped the shot with his right pad to preserve the 2-1 Ranger lead.
Off that save, Ryan McDonagh hit Miller with a perfect pass. The pass split the defenders, which allowed Miller to be all alone in on Nabokov. Nabokov was able to get a piece of Miller's shot, but it trickled past him into the net for his second goal of the game.
Miller finished the game with just the two shots in 14:25 of ice time. A rookie recorded his first two career NHL goals IN THE SAME GAME off of only 2 shots-on-goal. Wow.
McDonagh added an empty netter for the Rangers at the end. A bright spot for the team was their penalty kill. They killed off all five penalties they faced, and created some great scoring chances while on the kill.
Ryan Callahan returned from his shoulder injury, which could've provided a spark for this team. Brian Boyle was a healthy scratch, as head coach John Tortorella has been critical of his play: Boyle has one assist this year to go along with a minus-3 rating and 11 penalty minutes.
The Tampa Bay Lighting visit Madison Square Garden on Sunday to take on the Rangers.
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