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good starts

So How Many Goals Will Derek Stepan Score Today?

The Rangers return to action this afternoon against the Islanders at the Coliseum, two days after an impressive opener in Buffalo. Scoring five times against Ryan Miller (and adding an empty-netter for good measure) is one thing — especially since the Sabres' defense didn't play particularly well in front of him. But when three of those goals are scored by a 20-year-old playing in his very first NHL game — with his mom in the stands, no less? Now that's a way to start the season. Derek Stepan, by the way, became just the fourth player in NHL history to record a hat trick in his debut — and he came thisclose to a fourth after the Sabres had pulled Miller late in the third. Waiting for the Minnesotan in his locker after the game, by the way? A Yankees hat and jersey, courtesy of a team equipment staffer. Welcome to New York, kid.

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Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images