NASHVILLE – This time, the Rangers and Islanders will be playing their four-game rivalry in the thick of the NHL playoff race.
The NHL announced the schedules for all 32 teams on Tuesday. The Rangers will open their first season under new coach Peter Laviolette with a two-game road trip against the Sabres on Oct. 12 and the Blue Jackets two days later. Their home opener at Madison Square Garden will be on Oct. 16 against the Coyotes.
The Islanders will begin their second season under coach Lane Lambert hosting the Sabres at UBS Arena on Oct. 14, part of a season-opening three-game homestand which also includes games against the Coyotes (Oct. 17) and Devils (Oct. 20). The Islanders' first road contest is against the Sabres on Oct. 21.
The Rangers and Islanders meet for the first time on Feb. 18 in an outdoor game at MetLife Stadium. They also play a St. Patrick’s Day Sunday matinee at the Garden on March 17. The teams’ lone game at UBS Arena since the outdoor game counts as an Islanders’ home game will be on April 9. Their season-series concludes at the Garden on April 13.
Last season, as part of the NHL’s scheduling matrix which has some divisional rivals playing only three times in a season, the trio of Rangers-Islanders’ games was concluded by Dec. 22.
Both teams qualified for the playoffs before being eliminated in the first round, with the Islanders going 42-31-9 and earning the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot while the Rangers were 47-22-13 and finished third in the Metropolitan Division before a seven-game loss to the Devils was part of what cost coach Gerard Gallant his job.
The Rangers will play seven of their first nine games and 12 of their first 18 on the road but will finish the season with six of eight games at the Garden.
The Rangers’ longest road trip will be a five-game western trek from Oct. 21-30 with matches against the Kraken, Flames, Oilers, Canucks and Jets. They do not have a homestand longer than three games in the upcoming season.
The Islanders have a six-game homestand from Dec. 5-15 with contests against the Sharks, Blue Jackets, Kings, Maple Leafs, Ducks and Bruins. They have three, four-game road trips during the season, from Nov. 13-18, Jan. 13-19 and March 7-14.