In a year unlike any other, the Rangers will see back-to-back games against the Islanders to start the season, endure a four-game stretch against the Devils in mid-April and cap off the truncated 2020-21 season with games against the Capitals and Bruins.
The Rangers find themselves in the middle of what is likely the most competitive of all four divisions, which were realigned to minimize travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, joining the Islanders, Devils, Bruins, Sabres, Flyers, Penguins and Capitals in the East.
And with the condensed 56-game schedule, there are hardly any easy stretches.
To kick off the 2020-21 season, the Rangers will host the Islanders in back-to-back games at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 14 and 16. It will be the third time in franchise history the Rangers open the regular season against the Isles.
With teams in the East, Central and West set to face every other team in its division eight times, the Rangers and Islanders will meet six more times throughout the season. Teams in the North division, which consist of all the Canadian teams, will play every other team nine or 10 times.
The Rangers will host the Islanders again on Feb. 8 before traveling to the Nassau Coliseum – in its final season as the Islanders’ home before its Belmont arena opens – for three games in April. The Isles are set to return to MSG again on April 29 before they meet the Rangers for a final time on May 1 on Long Island.
While most games are scheduled in single or two-game blocks, the Blueshirts will play four-straight against the Devils from April 13-18, with both teams hosting twice. The four-game stretch against New Jersey is the longest on the Rangers’ schedule.
To cap off the 2020-21 regular season, the Rangers will play two games against both the Capitals and Bruins.
The Islanders are set to play seven of their first nine games in January on the road. Similarly to the Rangers’ schedule, most of the Isles’ games are arranged in single or two-game stretches.
At the end of March, the Isles will face what is likely the toughest portion of their schedule as far as competition and travel. After flying to Washington for back-to-back games on March 15 and 16, the Islanders then host the Flyers for two games a few days later.
The Islanders are then set to split four straight games on the road against the Bruins and Penguins, two teams that won at least 40 games during the 2019-20 regular season.
With the 2020-21 regular season set to commence on Jan. 13, the NHL rolled out a five-game slate, which will include the Lightning raising their second Stanley Cup championship banner prior to facing the Blackhawks in Tampa Bay.
The NHL is aiming for this upcoming season to conclude on May 8, with playoffs finishing up by July 9. The league’s ultimate goal is to return to a “normal” hockey calendar for the 2021-22 season beginning in October.
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