New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club will open the 2002-2003 season on Wednesday, October 9 at Carolina. It marks the sixth time in the last 10 seasons that the team has opened on the road and the second consecutive year the Hurricanes have been the Rangers Opening Night opponent. The Rangers will play their first game at Madison Square Garden on Friday, October 11 vs. Montreal (7:00 PM).
The 2002-2003 home schedule features a heavy concentration of Monday (11) games, as well as Wednesday and Friday (six each) dates. There will also be five Thursday and Saturday contests and four Tuesday and Sunday matches. The Rangers are pleased to once again offer fans several weekend afternoon contests throughout the course of the season, including: Sun., Nov. 3 vs. St. Louis (5:00 PM); Sat., Nov. 23 vs. Long Island (1:00 PM); Sun., Dec. 1 vs. Tampa Bay (1:00 PM); Sun., Dec. 8 vs. Boston (1:00 PM) and Sat., Jan. 25 vs. Atlanta (1:00 PM).
The club will host a five-game homestand at MSG, their longest of the season, beginning on Thursday, February 27 against Boston and concluding on Monday, March 10 vs. Florida, with matches against Florida, Long Island and Philadelphia in between. The Rangers will endure their longest road trip of the season beginning on Saturday, February 15 in Buffalo and concluding on Tuesday, February 25 in New Jersey, with visits to Ottawa, Minnesota, Anaheim and Colorado in between.
The Rangers will face the Atlantic Division rival New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins five times, and all Northeast Division and Southeast Division opponents four times. New York will face Western Conference teams twice, except for single matches versus the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks. Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota and Vancouver will not make appearances at MSG this season.
Starting times for all home games will be 7:00 PM, except for the five weekend matinee contests and the following nine dates: Wed., Dec. 11 vs. Chicago (8:00 PM); Mon., Jan. 6 vs. Ottawa (8:00 PM); Wed., Jan. 8 vs. Carolina (8:00 PM); Thu., Jan. 30 vs. Colorado (8:00 PM); Thu., Feb. 27 vs. Boston (8:00 PM); Mon., Mar. 3 vs. Long Island (8:00 PM); Wed., Mar. 26 vs. Pittsburgh (7:30 PM), Mon., Mar. 31 vs. Atlanta (7:30 PM) and Fri., Apr. 4 vs. New Jersey (7:30 PM).