The Rangers didn't manage a shot until 8:08 in the first period, but finally tied the game at 15:49 in the third.
Former New Jersey draft pick Petr Sykora -- who shined here as a member of the AHL's Albany River Rats in the mid-1990s -- beat Henrik Lundqvist at 11:34 of the first period on a wrister from the right circle to put the Devils ahead 1-0.
Goaltender Keith Kinkaid, out of nearby Union College, made the start and recorded 10 saves for New Jersey before being lifted. Martin Brodeur, nursing a hamstring injury, did not dress.
Lundqvist had 18 saves in 31:13 of ice time.
The Devils outshot New York 42-21 in new coach Peter DeBoer's debut.
A record crowd of 9,420 took in the first NHL game held in the current home of the AHL's Albany Devils in nine years.