Rangers Win With Messier

Archived from 2000-01 season.

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Valeri Kamensky and Petr Nedved scored power-play goals late in the first period and Mark Messier had an assist as the New York Rangers beat the Atlanta Thrashers 2-1 in the opening game for both teams.

"It's important to get off to a good start just because the way things have gone the last few years here," Messier said. "Confidence and momentum is a big thing, whether you're a team that has played well for a long time or a team that is coming together."

Steve Guolla scored the only goal for the Thrashers, who dropped to 1-18-2 in their last 21 home games. Atlanta had an NHL-worst 39 points as an expansion team last season.

"We did a lot of good things tonight, but it is still unacceptable," Thrashers coach Curt Fraser said. "We have been talking since the first day of camp about discipline, playing smart, and for two minutes we took two penalties. That puts us in a tough spot and we can't afford to do that."

Kirk McLean made 27 saves for the Rangers. Mike Richter, New York's top goalie, is still recovering from an offseason knee surgery.

"It's only one game into it, but I've said it ever since 'Mess' signed and came into training camp that you can feel the energy level, whether it is practice or in the locker room," Rangers left wing Adam Graves said. "I think that gives everybody some new confidence and makes everybody a better player."

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