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The Rangers face-off against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in their 2008-2009 regular season Garden opener (7:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently sit atop the Atlantic Division standings with a record of 2-0-0, and rank first in the Eastern Conference with four points. The Rangers enter tonight's contest having defeated the Lightning, 2-1, Sunday to complete a two-game sweep of Tampa Bay in the Bridgestone NHL Premiere in Prague, Czech Republic. Following today's match, the Rangers will travel to Philadelphia to face-off against the Flyers tomorrow, October 11, at the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m.). The Blackhawks enter tonight's contest having posted a 5-1-2 record in eight pre-season contests.
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Tonight's game will be televised on MSG. You can also catch the radio broadcast on ESPN 1050 New York.
Rangers vs. Blackhawks Pre-Game Notes
* The Blueshirts have been 2-0-0 going into their Garden opener only franchise history (1989-90 and 1941-42).
* The Rangers have won their last three Garden openers; The last time New York has won four consecutive Garden openers was 1989-90 to 1992-93.
* The last time the Blueshirts opened the season 3-0-0 was during the 1989-90 season.
* The Rangers' are 1075-1356-487-7 all-time against Original Six opponents, including a 233-241-98-1 mark vs. Chicago.
* In 41 regular season home games in 2007-08, the Rangers went 25-13-3 (6th in NHL); Chicago was 17-18-6 (T-22nd in NHL) in 41 games on the road last season.
* During the 2007-08 season, New York tied for 24th on the power play (15.3%) and ranked sixth on the penalty kill (85.4%) at MSG; Chicago's power play ranked 24th (14.6%) while their penalty kill tied for 18th (81.7%) on the road.
* The Rangers have held the Blackhawks to four power play goals in their last 12 meetings, going 36-40 on the penalty kill (90.0%) over the span.
* The last time the Blackhawks defeated the Rangers at MSG was on December 11, 2002 (3-4).
* Henrik Lundqvist
has posted a 1-0-1 record, along with a 1.49 goals against average in two career appearances vs. the Blackhawks.
* Markus Naslund has registered 34 points (17 goals and 17 assists) in 48 career games vs. Chicago; Chris Drury has collected 18 points (11 goals and seven assists) in 21 career contests vs. the Blackhawks; Nikolai Zherdev has recorded 16 points (six goals and 10 assists) in 24 career games vs. Chicago.
* The Rangers were 11-5-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets last season.
* New York posted a 2-2-4 record on Fridays last season.
* Three new Rangers' players registered their first point as a Blueshirt during the Bridgestone NHL Premiere in Prague, Czech Republic -- Naslund (one goal and one assist), Wade Redden
(one goal and one assist) and Aaron Voros (one assist).
* Alexei Cherepanov, the Rangers' first round selection (17th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has registered seven goals and five assists for 12 points in 13 games for Avangard Omsk of the Continental Hockey League (KHL); His 12 points currently rank fourth on the team.
* New York's roster lists no former Blackhawks.
* Chicago's roster lists no former Rangers.All Time – Rangers vs. Blackhawks
At MSG: 119-112-55-0
At Chicago: 114-129-43-12008-09 - Rangers vs. Blackhawks
Oct. 10 Rangers vs. Blackhawks at MSG
Jan. 16 Rangers vs. Blackhawks at United CenterUpcoming Regular-Season Schedule
Oct. 10 Rangers vs. Chicago, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 Rangers at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 Rangers vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 Rangers vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 Rangers vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.Injuries