Old Rivals

The New York Rangers didn't face Detroit last season as the Red Wings paved their path to a fourth Stanley Cup since 1996-97.

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The Blueshirts have witnessed the Detroit Red Wings dominance often enough in the past decade.

Off to one of the league's best starts this season, New York will head to Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night to face Detroit, which has beaten the Rangers nine out of the last 10 times the Original Six franchises have met.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Detroit -180 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -180 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

The Rangers (6-1-0) have been outscored 44-19 in their last 10 meetings with the Red Wings, losing four straight in Detroit since 1999.

But if there was ever a time for the Rangers to end their futility against arguably the NHL's most successful franchise since the mid-1990s, it might be now.

The Rangers fell 3-1 to Buffalo on Wednesday, but didn't let their first loss of 2008-09 keep them down for long. New York kept Toronto off the scoreboard for 65 minutes on Friday, eventually winning 1-0 in a shootout on goals by Nikolai Zherdev and Fredrik Sjostrom.

"It seemed like both teams were playing not to lose,'' Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "I'd rather lose a game being decisive and going after it than sitting back and hoping you're going to get it.''

Backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette made 21 saves to post his third career shutout on Friday, but Henrik Lundqvist is expected back in net against the Red Wings (2-1-1). If he starts, Lundqvist will be looking for his first win in three tries against Detroit after twice losing 4-3.

Detroit's Chris Osgood, meanwhile, is 11-5-0 with a 1.87 goals-against average and four shutouts in his career against the Rangers.

The Red Wings' latest game also took more than 60 minutes to decide, but the defending champs didn't make it to a shootout. Detroit let a third-period lead slip away against Vancouver on Thursday, ultimately losing 4-3 on Alex Burrows' goal 27 seconds into overtime.

"Bottom line, we were not nearly as good as we should have been,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We spent too much time in our zone.''

The loss came with reigning Conn Smythe trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg sidelined by a strained groin suffered Wednesday in practice. Zetterberg, who led the Red Wings with 43 goals last season, had a goal and an assist in his first three games, and though he's listed as day-to-day, Babcock believes he'll be sidelined for about another week.

"What I find with groins is that they're 10 days in the day-to-day process," Babcock told the team's official Web site on Thursday. "So let's say 10 days."

The Red Wings are still waiting for Pavel Datsyuk to find the back of the net for the first time this season. After setting career highs with 31 goals and 97 points in 2007-08, Datsyuk has only four assists so far.

He has a goal and two assists in five career games against New York.

The Rangers are looking considerably younger up front this season after four of their top five scorers in 2007-08 were 31 or older.

Brandon Dubinsky, 22, has three goals and four assists to tie for the team points lead with 27-year-old Aaron Voros. Zherdev, 23, who came over from Columbus in the offseason, has two goals and three assists.

Zherdev had four goals and four assists in eight games against the Red Wings last season while with the Blue Jackets.

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