The New York Rangers have been on the road for nearly a month. That all changes Monday night.
Forced to wait for the third stage of the transformation of Madison Square Garden to be complete, the Rangers opened the 2013-14 season with nine straight road games. They won only three of them (3-6-0), but are coming off an impressive 3-2 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
New York will finally play its home opener Monday, when it faces the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS, TSN-HABS, MSG).
"Everything looks great, brand new," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal told blueshirtsunited.com on Sunday. "The ice was good today, and it's pretty exciting. Everything looks great. It's a beautiful building and they did a great job. We're excited to fill it up with fans and give them a good show."
Here's a look at all of the action Monday night:
Dallas Stars at Buffalo Sabres – Stars coach Lindy Ruff makes his return to Buffalo, where he coached from 1997 until he was fired by the Sabres last season. Buffalo will also have a different look after trading leading scorer Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders on Sunday night in exchange for Matt Moulson, a first-round pick at the 2014 NHL Draft and a second-round selection in 2015. Moulson had three straight 30-goal seasons for the Islanders and had 44 points in 47 games last season.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes – The Penguins head to Raleigh with hopes of putting an end to a three-game losing streak. Pittsburgh was outscored 9-4 in losses to the Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, while the power play went 1-for-15 over that stretch. The Penguins fared well against Carolina in recent meetings – dating back to last season, they've scored 18 goals against the Hurricanes in three victories. Carolina returns home after splitting four road games. The Hurricanes dropped the last two games on the trip at Minnesota and Colorado.
Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers – The first game in the now-completely redone Madison Square Garden. Montreal struggled on its recent five-game homestand, losing three of the final four games, including a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. The Rangers will have goaltender Henrik Lundqvist back in the lineup Monday after missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury.
Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild – The second game of a home-and-home series takes place at Xcel Energy Center after the Wild earned a 5-3 victory in Chicago on Saturday night. Jason Pominville had two goals for Minnesota, which pulled even with the Blackhawks in the Central Division at 15 points apiece. Chicago has allowed 11 goals over its past two games, both losses.
Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks – The Canucks return to Rogers Arena after going 5-1-1 on their seven-game road trip. Monday marks the fourth of Washington's five-game road trip; the Capitals won the first two games in Winnipeg and Edmonton before suffering a 5-2 loss at Calgary on Saturday. Vancouver will play its next three games on home ice before hitting the road again for four games.