With the top two picks in June's draft facing each other for the first time in the National Hockey League, it was Hughes - the Devils' selection at No. 1-overall - bettering the Rangers' selection at No. 2, Kaapo Kakko, as the Devils got their first win of the season, a 5-2 victory on Thursday night at Prudential Center. Mackenzie Blackwood finished with 29 saves. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 33 shots.
It was the first National Hockey League game featuring Hughes and Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko, the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft.
Kyle Palmieri also scored the team's first power-play goal of the season to give the Devils their first lead at 2:18 of the second period.
Hughes skated to the slot and deflected a Matt Tennyson shot toward net, where Wood was positioned at the crease.
Hall almost restored New Jersey's two-goal lead at 7:08, but it was waved off because the officials said Hall pushed it in with his hand. This is a game that the Devils need to have for a multitude of reasons.
The Rangers pulled the goalie in the waning minutes, and P.K. Subban ended it with an empty-netter the length of the ice with 47.9 seconds left, making it 5-2.
The Rangers (2-2-0) had only played three games in the 13 days since opening night on October 3.
Almost seven minutes into the period, New Jersey's Taylor Hall left his feet and, leading with his elbow, delivered a hard hit high on defenceman Adam Fox, who was down on the ice behind the Rangers' net for several minutes. Hall received a double-minor for elbowing and roughing. Skjei, who went after Hall after the hit, was given a minor for roughing. New Jersey had been 0-for-20 and is 1-for-25. Hughes got an assist on the play, earning his first National Hockey League point. His assist aided one of two Devils goals in the second period, where the team broke a 1-1 tie. The Devils are winless in their first six games, but it would be no better time to end their slump than against the Rangers.