With the final phase of Madison Square Garden's reconstruction still underway in early October, the Rangers will open up the 2013-14 National Hockey League season by playing nine straight games on the road before hosting the Montreal Canadiens in the home opener on Monday, October the 28th. That nine-game trek will be the longest road trip to start a season in franchise history, and will mark the team's first nine-game road swing since the 1955-56 season.
The 2013-14 regular season kicks off for the Rangers in Phoenix on October 3rd, the sixth straight year, and 12th time in the last 14 seasons, the Blueshirts have opened up on the road. Games in Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, and St. Louis follow before the Rangers likely would return to New York for a few days following the October 12th game against the Blues. Then the Rangers play "one-off" road games in Washington (10/16), New Jersey (10/19), Philadelphia (10/24), and Detroit (10/26) before opening their home schedule against the Canadiens on the 28th.
In the month of October the Rangers will play 10 of their 12 contests on the road. The schedule turns more in the Rangers favor in December when the Blueshirts play ten games at The Garden and only four on the road, three of which will come at the end of the month.
Two of the most intriguing games on the Rangers 2013-14 schedule will be their tilts with the Islanders and Devils to be played outdoors at Yankee Stadium in the month of January, part of the league's 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The Rangers will be the visiting team in each contest played at Yankee Stadium---Sunday, January 26th against the Devils and Wednesday, January 29th against the Isles. Those games will mark the second and third outdoor games the Rangers will have played in the past three seasons, joining the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia in which the Rangers beat the Flyers 3-2.
Fans will also be circling the dates of November 30th and April 1st on their calendars. On the former date John Tortorella's Vancouver Canucks visit The Garden, and on the latter date new Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault returns to Vancouver with the Rangers for the first time. And on November 7th Rick Nash will face Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, and his former Blue Jacket teammates for the first time out in Columbus, with the first Madison Square Garden battle with the Blue Jackets coming on December 12th.
The 82-game regular season schedule will see the Rangers play every team in the league at least twice, something that has not been done in recent memory, meaning more road trips out west and to the midwest. The Blueshirts will also play within the newly-named and created Metropolitan Division, joining Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, the Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington.
The Rangers will not play a single game between February 8th and 26th as the league shuts down to allow its players to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Their regular season schedule concludes with a contest up in Montreal on Saturday, April the 12th.
Share your thoughts below on the challenges facing the Rangers in 2013-14, and which game(s) you are most looking forward to.