The New York Rangers will have their Madison Square Garden opener tonight (7pm ET, 11.10.08 at 1am CET) against the young squad of the Chicago Blackhawks, who will have their first game in the 2008-2009 season.
After easily disposing twice of the Lightning when opening the season in Prague, the Blue Shirts go back in their mythic Madison Square Garden arena. The defense has been impressive against the Lightning's offensive armada, and will most likely be one of the keys of the game. In front of the net, Henrik Lundqvist looks to be sharp already, and adds furthermore some very good career stats against the Blackhawks, with a 1-0-1 record and 1.49 goals against average. Offensively, the teammates of Chris Drury will have to be more efficient than what they've shown in Prague, where they scored only 4 goals in 2 games, despite a total of 80 shots. They will have a hard job in the Blackhawks defense, being generally smaller, but will be able to count on a fast puck-moving game.
On Chicago's side, the sum of young talents is pretty impressive. In attack, players like Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane, Andrew Ladd, Jack Skille, or Jonathan Toews, the new Hawks captain, will be supported by veterans Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat. The rear-guard will be built around two young guys, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and even more on summer's acquisition Brian Campbell. In goal, Cristobal Huet, also brought in during the off-season, will be charged to cover the mistakes of this young but promising team. Let's mention though that the last time the Blackhawks won at Madison Square Garden was back on december 11th 2002...
Choice 1, that's to say the New York Rangers
, with an odd of 2.20 at Bet365.