All opening nights are special, but 2003 had a special feeling thanks to Rangers legend Mike Richter — who had recently retired that summer — dropped the ceremonial first puck between New York and the Atlanta Thrashers. Perhaps Richter inspired both goaltenders on the ice that night.
The showdown ended in a stalemate as the Rangers’ goaltender Mike Dunham turned aside 30 shots, including 14 in the second period alone. Equally as impressive was Atlanta’s netminder Pasi Nurminen who stopped all 29 shots he faced. Both goaltenders were credited with shutouts after 65 minutes of play in a 0-0 tie. The Rangers penalty kill was flawless in nine chances.