Preview: Rangers Take on Leafs at MSG Opener

We thought it would never come, but tonight the Rangers finally open their home season at the partially transformed Madison Square Garden against the Toronto Maple Leafs. From the photos and videos, the place looks great. Your’s truly, though, will be watching from the front seat of his living room.

The Rangers come in winners winning three of their last four games (3-2-2 overall), but haven’t put together a full 60-minute game. Marian Gaborik has been the teams’ best offensive player, and has clicked thus far with newly signed center Brad Richards. Last season’s productive line of Ryan CallahanArtem AnisimovBrandon Dubinsky has been dreadful, leading to coach John Tortorella to split them up.

On the blue line, Michael Sauer will return after he missed several games with a shoulder injury. He’ll more than likely skate with Michael Del Zotto as the team’s second pair. Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net.

The Leafs have been one of the leagues biggest surprises thus far going 5-2-1, but have been skidding a bit with losing two of their last three, including a 6-2 beating at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

Phil Kessel is leading the league in goals (9) and points (15). The Toronto Star is reporting goaltender James Reimer should be back in net after suffering whiplash symptoms after colliding with Montreal’s Brian Gionta in the Leafs’ 5-4 overtime victory over the Habs.

The Rangers should no doubt benefit from the couple days off and a home crowd that should be in a festive mood after watching their team play on the road for the first seven games of the season. They’ll have to shut down Kessel, who is playing some of the best hockey of his career.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

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