New York Rangers President, General Manager and Head Coach Glen Sather announced today that the club will open the 2003-2004 season on Friday, October 10 at Minnesota, marking the seventh time in the last 11 seasons that the team has opened on the road. The team will play its first game at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, October 16 vs. Atlanta (7:00 PM).
The 2003-2004 home schedule is highlighted by several weekend afternoon contests throughout the course of the season, including: Sun. Nov. 2 vs. Colorado (5:00 PM); Sat., Nov. 8 vs. Philadelphia (1:00 PM); Sun., Nov. 23 vs. Ottawa (5:00 PM); Sun., Dec. 7 vs. Tampa Bay (5:00 PM); Sun., Jan. 11 vs. Tampa Bay (5:00 PM); Sat., Feb. 21 vs. New Jersey (1:00 PM) and Sun. Mar. 7 vs. Pittsburgh (5:00 PM). The team will also play nine Monday games, eight Thursday dates, six Tuesday and Sunday contests, five Wednesday games, four Saturday dates and three Friday matches.
As part of a National Hockey League initiative, the Rangers will be donning retro-style vintage jerseys for its Mon., Dec. 22 home game vs. Boston (7:00 PM) as well as a road match in Boston on Mon., Jan. 19 (1:00 PM). The games will be part of special theme nights in the arenas, which will include special guests and interactive elements for the fans. The Rangers will be wearing a replica of the club’s 1976-77 sweater, which features the Rangers shield as its primary crest.
The club will kick-off the home portion of its 2003-2004 schedule by hosting a six-game homestand at MSG, the longest of the season, beginning with the home opener against the Thrashers on Oct. 16. During the home stretch, New York will also face the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, before concluding the run on Thu., Oct. 30 vs. Carolina. The team will also play four consecutive home games from Mon., Feb. 16 through Mon., Feb. 23, including matches against Ottawa, the Islanders, New Jersey and the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers schedule includes two four-game road trips during the 2003-04 season. The first trip begins on Sat., Nov. 15 in New Jersey and concludes on Thu., Nov. 20 in Colorado, with visits to Chicago and San Jose as well. The team will embark on its second four-game road swing on Mon., Dec. 29 in Phoenix, followed by visits to Los Angeles and St. Louis before finishing the trip on Sat., Jan. 3 in Pittsburgh.
The Rangers will face the Atlantic Division rival New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins six times, and all Northeast Division and Southeast Division opponents four times. New York will face the following Western Conference teams in a home-and-home series: the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators. The team will host single matches versus six Western Conference foes, including the defending conference champion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. The Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks will not make appearances at MSG this season.
Starting times for all home games will be 7:00 PM, except for the seven weekend matinee contests and the following seven dates: Tue., Oct. 28 vs. Anaheim (7:30 PM); Thu., Dec. 18 vs. NY Islanders (8:00 PM); Thu., Jan. 22 vs. Philadelphia (7:30 PM); Mon., Feb. 16 vs. Ottawa (1:00 PM); Tue., Mar. 23 vs. Pittsburgh (7:30 PM); Thu., Mar. 25 vs. Nashville (7:30 PM); Wed., Mar. 31 vs. Buffalo (7:30 PM).