Sports Outside the Beltway

Are you ready for some hockey?

The 2007-08 NHL season has its North American opener tonight.

DETROIT – If you don’t count two regular-season games played in London over the weekend, tonight is the NHL’s opening night.

The Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, who split two games in England against the L.A. Kings, are in Detroit to play the Red Wings.

Elsewhere, the Montreal Canadiens travel to Carolina to play the Hurricanes, the Ottawa Senators are at the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars visit Denver to play the Avalanche.

The Florida Panthers begin their schedule tomorrow with a road game at the New York Rangers. Based on the acquisition of Goalie Tomas Vokoun, the team’s play late in the 2006-07 season, and the current talent on the team, I’m predicting a third place finish in the Southeast Division and a playoff spot next spring.

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