The front offices of the Rangers and Islanders will be in the same arena for this weekend's NHL draft in Los Angeles, but won't be that close again until Columbus Day, when the Rangers visit Nassau Coliseum for the first of six regular-season games against their rivals.
The Islanders, who open the season against Dallas on Oct. 9, host the Rangers in the second game of the season, a 1 p.m. matinee Oct. 11. The Blueshirts also visit Uniondale on Dec. 2, the first leg of a home-and-home, and Thursday, March 31. The Islanders roll into Madison Square Garden, where they won two of three last season, for night games Dec. 3, Dec. 27 and March 15.
The Rangers open their 85th season in Buffalo on Oct. 9, then debut at the Garden against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who they face three times in October.
The schedulemakers were much kinder to the Rangers when it comes to road trips. After their first two home games, the Islanders will play 12 of their next 15 games away from Long Island, a stretch that ends with three in California against the Ducks, Sharks and Kings. In early January, the Islanders have five road games in 10 days with Detroit, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado and Chicago. The Rangers have three, two-game western trips and only one trip of four games that includes visits to Long Island and Philadelphia.
For the first time in three years, the Rangers won't close the season against the Flyers; the Islanders will, on April 9. The Rangers, home the last three games of the season, host the Devils.
Notes & quotes: RW Enver Lisin, who didn't dress for 17 of the final 22 games, was not given a qualifying offer by the Rangers. The 24-year-old Russian, acquired last summer from Phoenix for Lauri Korpikoski, will be an unrestricted free agent. Four key remaining RFAs: Mark Staal, Dan Girardi, Erik Christensen and Brandon Prust, either have received qualifying offers or will . . . The salary cap will rise by more than $2 million to about $59 million as the NHLPA agreed to an escalator clause and to extend the CBA through 2011-12.