Recently, the NHL released the schedules of all 32 teams, hoping for a somewhat normal year following a crazy, shortened season due to COVID-19. Back this year is the NHL All-Star Game, as well as a break for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games – where the NHL is on track to possibly allow players to participate in the games after an 8-year hiatus.
Here are 5 notable aspects of the 2021-22 New York Rangers schedule:
5: Season Opener Against the Caps
It seems almost like fate that the Rangers are opening up the season against the rivaled Capitals – of course, it goes without mentioning how Tom Wilson’s antics back in May seemingly changed the course of the Rangers’ rebuild. Since the incident, which resulted in the firings of multiple front-office executives and coaches, the Rangers have made the bottom-six a priority, loading up on grit and power in order to strengthen the roster into a playoff contender.
Now, the new-look Blueshirts have the chance to stand up for themselves and get revenge against the tough Capitals, making for a must-see opening week matchup.
4: First Game Against the Kraken
On October 31st, the Rangers spend their Halloween in Seattle, taking on the brand-new Kraken for the very first time (a fun little factoid of information to begin this section: in 2017, when the Vegas Golden Knights entered the NHL, the Rangers played their first game against them on October 31st, 2017!)
Though Seattle is a Western Conference team, seemingly lowering the stakes in terms of the standings, the matchup begins a 4-game road trip for the Rangers, all over the course of just 6 days. They will also take on Colin Blackwell, who the Rangers exposed in the expansion draft a month ago. Blackwell, who registered 12 goals and 22 points last season with the Rangers, will be looking to get revenge on the team who perhaps gave up on him too soon.
3: Black Friday in Boston
It seems like a tradition at this point: the Rangers, on November 26th, will be taking on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The matinee game will likely be aired nationally on ESPN, and will be the first NHL ‘Thanksgiving’ game since before the pandemic. In the same situation in 2019, the Rangers fell to the Bruins 3-2 in overtime, albeit holding a 2-0 lead going into the third. The return of this exciting game also marks the first time the Rangers battle the Bruins in 2021-22, reigniting the New York-Boston rivalry.
2: Difficult Final Stretch
The Rangers, a fringe playoff team as of right now, will be tested heavily come April. 13 of their final 20 games are against division opponents, including 2 against the Bruins, Islanders, and Penguins, as well as 3 against the Hurricanes. This grueling final stretch will make or break the Blueshirts, truly putting them to the test of whether or not they are truly a playoff team.
1: Henrik Lundqvist Night
Although it is not officially on the schedule yet, the Rangers have announced that Henrik Lundqvist’s ’30’ will be raised to the rafters this season. Lundqvist, who retired from hockey about a week ago, expressed his excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to have his number retired by the Blueshirts. Although we don’t know the exact date yet, it’s guaranteed that every Rangers fan will be looking forward to celebrating Lundqvist’s fabulous career, and we can only hope that it will be in front of a packed crowd of passionate New York Rangers fans.
— Henrik Lundqvist (@hlundqvist35) August 22, 2021