NEW YORK - Brandon Dubinsky scored once and added two assists, and newcomers Wade Redden, Aaron Voros and Nikolai Zherdev chipped in with goals, too, leading the New York Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the vastly improved Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
Fresh off last weekend's season-opening sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Czech Republic, the Rangers showed no signs of jet lag in winning their home opener and starting 3-0 for the first time since 1989.
Redden, the Rangers' biggest off-season addition on defence, gave New York a 1-0 lead 6:47 in. But later in the first period, Chicago's Brian Campbell - who netted the biggest deal for a free-agent defenceman during the summer - turned an end-to-end rush into a goal for reigning NHL rookie of the year Patrick Kane.
Moments after Duncan Keith got the Blackhawks to 3-2 in their season opener at 7:13 of the third, Zherdev snapped in a shot off passes from Voros and Dubinsky to make it a two-goal game with 10:27 left.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots to improve to 3-0, building off two 2-1 wins against Tampa Bay.
Cristobal Huet had a bit of a shaky start in goal for the Blackhawks, who lured him away from Washington with a US$22.45-million, four-year deal. Former starter Nikolai Khabibulin, who cleared waivers last week, watched from the bench as he began the final season of his $27-million, four-year contract.
Huet kicked away a shot by Rangers captain Chris Drury, but deflected it right to Redden for a drive into a wide-open right side. Huet made 25 saves.
Campbell paid instant dividends on his $57.12-million, eight-year deal, racing the puck all the way up the ice and banking it off the left side of the net to Kane, who tied it 1-1 with 2:42 left in the first.
Dubinsky made the second period his own, assisting on Voros' first goal with the Rangers and then stretching the lead to two 10 minutes later.
After roaring off the bench for his first shift of the game and crossing the ice to land a couple of high-energy hits, Dubinsky furnished more tangible results. He challenged Chicago centre Dave Bolland, who couldn't quite get control of the puck that landed in his skates, and stripped it away. Dubinsky sent a quick pass to Voros for a one-timer from one knee that gave New York a 2-1 edge at 5:15.
Voros returned the favour, sort of, but wasn't credited with an assist on Dubinsky's second goal of the new season. Zherdev chipped the puck out of the New York zone into neutral ice, where Voros pressured defenceman Brent Sopel into a turnover. Dubinsky got the loose puck and raced alone down the slot, roofing a shot into the upper right corner with 4:24 left in the second.
Notes: The ceremonial faceoff was handled by former Rangers stars Harry Howell, Andy Bathgate and Adam Graves, who will have their numbers retired in February. ... The Blackhawks have opened their season against the Rangers nine times, three in New York. ... New York substituted Fredrik Sjostrom for scratched RW Petr Prucha, who started the first two games in his native Czech Republic. ... The Rangers won at Chicago for their second win to start the 1989-90 season. ... Chicago opened on the road for the third straight season.