by Kevin Stott | New Lightning coach Barry Melrose and the remodeled Tampa Bay Lightning (11-1 Stanley Cup, Palms) are in Prague, Czech Republic on Saturday to face Jaromir Jagr and the New York Rangers (11-1) in the opening game of the NHLs 2008-09 season. The game starts at 9 a.m. PT and will air on NHLTV (Cox channel 316).
In Stockholm, Sweden, the Ottawa Senators (15-1) face the Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins (5-1) in the days second game, which will also be shown on cable NHLTV. The Las Vegas Hilton's SuperBook has made the Lightning a -120 favorite and the total 5 1/2 in the opener while the Senators were made a -115 favorite over the Penguins with the total set at 6o -130 in Saturday's second game.
The regular season in North America begins on Thursday night with three games in the lower 48 and one in Canada. The defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings (7-2) host the Toronto Maple Leafs (45-1) in Detroit (Versus TV) in a game that will be preceded by the raising of the 2007-08 championship banner in Hockeytown. Later Thursday, Vancouver hosts Calgary in the first game of the year in Canada.
Here are the Stanley Cup odds for the balance of the NHL in order of their current lines: Sharks (8-1), Ducks (11-1), Canadiens (12-1), Capitals (15-1), Flyers (15-1), Wild (16-1), Stars (20-1), Bruins (22-1), Blackhawks (22-1), Flames (24-1), Devils (24-1), Avalanche (24-1), Lightning (25-1), Canucks (35-1), Hurricanes (38-1), Sabres (40-1), Panthers (40-1), Thrashers (40-1), Predators (45-1), Oilers (50-1), Islanders (50-1), Coyotes (60-1), Blue Jackets (60-1), Blues (65-1) and Kings (85-1).