Rangers 2015-16 schedule released

The New York Rangers celebrate their game winning overtime goal against the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The New York Rangers celebrate their game winning overtime goal against the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals during the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

On Thursday, the NHL released the full schedule for 2015-16. A day prior to the much anticipated Draft featuring stud prospects Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel as the consensus top two picks to Edmonton and Buffalo, hockey fans still recovering from Stanley Cup hangover finally had something to look forward to.

Even if October is still a long way off, fans could start planning out which games they want to see. For the Rangers, they are one of eight teams in action on Opening Night when they visit the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks on October 7. In the previous post, we already covered this. After visiting Columbus October 9, the home opener is October 10 in a home-and-home against the Blue Jackets.

Of their 11 games in October, seven are at MSG including a rare 1 PM Sunday matinee against the Devils on October 18. In case you’re wondering, that start time coincides with the Jets hosting the Redskins. I venture to guess Hasan won’t be too pleased with this. The Giants play Monday night in Philadelphia. Five of the Blueshirts’ last six are at home with the Sharks, Coyotes, Flames and Leafs all visiting.

Eight of their 14 games in November are at MSG highlighted by the Capitals on 11/3 and the Canadiens on Turkey Eve, 11/25. Prior to that tilt, they’ll visit the Lightning on November 19 followed by the Panthers. On Black Friday, they’re at the Bruins for a special 1 PM tilt and conclude the month with home dates against the Flyers and Hurricanes.

To start the month of December, the Blueshirts finally get their first look at the Brooklyn Islanders at Barclays Center on 12/2. It’ll indeed be odd. I’m still not used to it and might never be. The Isles belong on Long Island. Unfortunate that cold politicians forced them odd. Following a pair of home games against Colorado and Ottawa, the Rangers embark on a three-game Western Canadian trip with stops in Vancouver 12/9, Edmonton 12/11 and Calgary 12/12. Oddly, Garden fans should set aside December 15 because Connor McDavid and the Oilers make the return trip to the Garden. Before the holidays, the Caps revisit the scene of their gut wrenching second round loss on Sunday 12/20. At least that one doesn’t start till 7 PM with the Giants hosting Carolina at 1 PM. The Jets are at Dallas Saturday night. So no football conflict. They conclude the month at Nashville and Tampa. Two good tests.

In the new calendar year, January is a short month with only 11 games. Outside of a three-game homestand between 1/5-11 against the Stars, Caps and Bruins, the Blueshirts will be away for seven of the 11 including a second visit to Brooklyn January 14 followed by a back-to-back at the Caps and Flyers 1/16-17. The final game prior to the All-Star break is home for the Sabres January 25. Hopefully, Jack Eichel will be in town. Might Cam Talbot join him? We’re still waiting to learn where he’ll wind up this weekend with Edmonton, Buffalo, Calgary, San Jose and Florida all interested.

In February, they play 14 times with plenty of good games at home and on the road. If you love rivalries, the Devils host them on 2/2 and then visit MSG 2/8. The Rangers will also see the Flyers 2/6 and visit Sidney Crosby and the Pens 2/10. A three-game homestand follows with the Kings and Hawks in town sandwiched around the Flyers. The Red Wings also visit 2/21 before the Rangers once again go to Newark for their third match of the month against the Devils on 2/23. They then have two tough Central match-ups at St. Louis and Dallas before concluding at home against Columbus on Leap Day 2/29.

For March, rivalry games are again in play with a tough back-to-back 3/3-4 at Pittsburgh and Washington. John Tavares and the Islanders invade MSG two days later. Following a Saturday 12:30 matinee against the Pens, they hit the West coast for the Californian trio of Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose between 3/16-19. After returning home for the Panthers and Bruins, they visit the Canadiens on 3/26 for Hockey Night In Canada before seeing the Pens once more a day later at MSG. It’s a pretty good chance these games could decide the Metropolitan Division.

After concluding the month at Carolina 3/31, the Blueshirts finish with four of their last five on Garden ice in April with Buffalo, Tampa, the Islanders and Red Wings visiting. The only road game is at Columbus April 4 but is followed by a back-to-back against the Lightning. The Isles visit 4/7 and the Wings are in town 4/9 for the final game of the regular season at 12:30 PM.

Overall, the Rangers have 17 back-to-backs. So, it won’t be as easy to rest Henrik Lundqvist. Especially if the backup isn’t as dependable as Talbot assuming he gets moved. Here are all 17 back-to-backs.

Fri 10/9 @ Blue Jackets

Sat 10/10 vs Blue Jackets

Sun 10/18 vs Devils

Mon 10/19 vs Sharks

Sat 10/24 @ Flyers

Sun 10/25 vs Flames

Fri 11/6 @ Avalanche

Sat 11/7 @ Coyotes

Sat 11/14 @ Senators

Sun 11/15 vs Maple Leafs

Fri 11/27 @ Bruins

Sat 11/28 vs Flyers

Wed 12/2 @ Islanders

Thu 12/3 vs Avalanche

Fri 12/11 @ Oilers

Sat 12/12 @ Flames

Thu 12/17 @ Wild

Fri 12/18 @ Jets

Sat 1/16 @ Flyers

Sun 1/17 @ Capitals

Sun 1/24 @ Senators

Mon 1/25 vs Sabres

Wed 2/17 vs Blackhawks

Thu 2/18 @ Maple Leafs

Thu 3/3 @ Penguins

Fri 3/4 @ Capitals

Sat 3/12 @ Red Wings

Sun 3/13 vs Penguins

Wed 3/16 @ Ducks

Thu 3/17 @ Kings

Sat 3/26 @ Canadiens

Sun 3/27 vs Penguins

Mon 4/4 @ Blue Jackets

Tue 4/5 vs Lightning

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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