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Daily Primer Oct. 26: Rangers' trip comes to an end

by John Kreiser

The longest season-opening trip in New York Rangers history comes to an end Saturday night.

With Madison Square Garden undergoing the final phase of remodeling, the Rangers were forced to open the season with nine consecutive road games. The ninth and final one will see the Rangers meet the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, a place where they haven't won in the 21st century. New York's last win in Detroit came on Jan. 30, 1999, and the Rangers have won only twice at the Joe since the start of the 1986-87 season.

The Red Wings hope they're catching the Rangers at the right time. Detroit has dropped three in a row and was hammered 6-1 at home by the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

Here's a look at all the action on a busy Saturday:

Edmonton Oilers at Phoenix Coyotes -- The Oilers spend the weekend visiting the Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings, and maybe being on the road will be a good thing. Edmonton finished a six-game trip with back-to-back wins against Ottawa and the Montreal Canadiens earlier in the week, but was beaten 4-1 at Rexall Place by the Washington Capitals on Thursday. The Coyotes are back in the desert after a strange 7-4 loss to the Kings in L.A.; they overcame a 4-0 deficit only to allow three more goals. That loss ended a 5-0-2 run.

New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins -- One game after saying he was now the backup goaltender to Cory Schneider, Martin Brodeur is scheduled to be in net for the Devils, who have yet to win on the road this season (0-5-2). In all, the Devils are 1-5-4 and are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks at home on Thursday. New Jersey is 0-3 in the tiebreaker this season, largely because its shooters are 0-for-11. Boston was outshot 39-17 at home by the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, but Tuukka Rask stopped 38 shots before David Krejci's goal with :00.8 remaining gave the Bruins a 2-1 win, their seventh in nine games.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs -- Neither team is likely to be in a good mood after losing on Friday. The Penguins blew 2-1 and 3-2 leads in the third period at home before losing 4-3 to the New York Islanders despite a 42-25 advantage in shots. Marc-Andre Fleury figures to play at Air Canada Centre after rookie Jeff Zatkoff fell to 0-2-0 by losing to New York. The Maple Leafs saw a 1-1 game after two periods turn into a 5-2 road loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets despite 31 saves by Jonathan Bernier. They did get their biggest free-agent acquisition, forward David Clarkson, into the lineup for the first time after he sat out a 10-game suspension for an incident during the preseason.

San Jose Sharks at Montreal Canadiens-- The Sharks offense has gone cold away from SAP Center at San Jose. They won 1-0 in a shootout at Detroit on Monday, then managed one goal in the 2-1 loss at Boston on Thursday that made the Sharks the last team to lose a game in regulation. Montreal is coming off a solid performance in a 4-1 home victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on Friday called the Sharks "the best team in the NHL since the start of the season" and called the game his team's "biggest challenge so far."

Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders -- It's a homecoming for Philadelphia defenseman Mark Streit, who spent five years on Long Island before signing with the Flyers after the Islanders traded his rights before free agency started last summer. Streit's new team has struggled to score; the Flyers are 2-7-0 after beating the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday, but have yet to score more than two goals in a game. His old team still has some defensive problems, but is back at the Nassau Coliseum after a spirited 4-3 road win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. Expect backup Kevin Poulin to get his second start of the season for the Islanders.

New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings -- The Rangers' 12 goals are the fewest in the NHL, but Brad Richards is enjoying a revival. Richards has five of the 12 goals, including the only one in the loss to the Flyers. New York may again be without starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who sat out the game in Philadelphia with an undisclosed injury. Rookie Cam Talbot made 25 saves in his NHL debut. The Red Wings, who've scored three goals during a three-game losing streak, broke up the tandem of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who've provided most of the offense thus far, in an effort to keep opponents from being able to focus on shutting down on one line.

Buffalo Sabres at Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Sabres finally own a non-shootout win, but they owe backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth a debt of gratitude for standing on his head Friday night. Enroth made 44 saves to help the Sabres beat the Florida Panthers 3-1. Buffalo had gone 11 games with only a shootout win and an overtime loss. Tampa Bay, playing the finale of a seven-game homestand, had the day off after a whacky 6-5 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday -- a game that saw Martin St. Louis get the winner after the Lightning forced OT by putting the tying goal into their own net with less than two minutes left in regulation.

Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars -- The Jets got a point against the Nashville Predators in the opener of a four-game trip on Thursday, but they allowed Craig Smith to score the game-winner with 17 seconds left in overtime and left with a 3-2 loss. The Stars got two boosts against the Calgary Flames on Thursday -- they were back at home and they had starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen back after he missed five games with a lower-body injury sustained when the Stars won in Winnipeg on Oct. 11. The result was a 5-1 victory in which Jamie Benn and Alex Chiasson scored twice.

Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks -- The Wild come to United Center for the front end of a home-and-home wondering who their goaltender will be. Josh Harding left after two periods of a 3-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, forcing Niklas Backstrom, who admits he's not 100 percent after a knee injury, to finish the game. Backstrom says he has to "find a way;" if not, rookie Johan Gustafsson is his backup. Chicago is likely to have starter Corey Crawford back in goal after backup Nikolai Khabibulin allowed six goals in the loss at Tampa Bay.

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators -- The Blues had a week off entering Friday's home game against the road-weary Vancouver Canucks but had to settle for a single point when Ryan Kesler scored in the final seconds of overtime for a 3-2 win. St. Louis is 1-1-2 after a 4-0-0 start. Nashville won its first game without injured starter Pekka Rinne in goal by beating Winnipeg 3-2 in overtime on Thursday. Rinne will miss at least four weeks while being treated for an infected hip. Carter Hutton made 34 saves against the Jets in his absence.

Washington Capitals at Calgary Flames -- The Capitals might not have been the opponent the Flames would have chosen for their first home game after a 1-4-0 road trip. Washington comes to Scotiabank Saddledome riding a three-game winning streak and with the NHL's top goal-scorer, Alex Ovechkin, who has 10 goals in his team's 10 games, including one in a 4-1 victory at Edmonton on Thursday. The Flames are 4-4-2 after 10 games -- a better mark than most would have expected -- but they're coming home after a trip in which they went through some growing pains. The Flames are averaging 3.6 goals-against per game; the Capitals have scored 12 non-shootout goals during their winning streak.

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