The New York Rangers will open the 2005-06 season on Wednesday, October 5, taking on the Flyers at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. Each of the league's 30 clubs will be in action that evening, kicking off the season and marking the NHL's return to the ice. The Rangers will celebrate their return home to Madison Square Garden the following evening, Thursday, October 6, in an Original Six match-up vs. the Montreal Canadiens. This marks the sixth consecutive season the Rangers will open the season on the road. New York last opened the season at Madison Square Garden on October 9, 1998.
As part of the many new elements in place for the NHL's return this season, the schedule features an emphasis on division rivalries. The Rangers will face Atlantic Division rivals, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Islanders eight times over the course of the season. New York will face all other Eastern Conference opponents a total of four times. Also, as part of the new schedule format, the Rangers and all Atlantic Division clubs will host the Northwest Division - Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver and will travel to meet Central Division opponents - Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis.
The schedule features seven Saturday matches, including three matinees (1:00 PM). New York will play four Sunday matches, including two with a 5:00 PM starting time. The Rangers will play a back-to-back home series on Saturday, November 19 vs. Carolina and Sunday, November 20 vs. Boston. Two, five-game homestands, January 3 - 12 and January 22 - February 1, are the longest consecutive home stretches of the season. The team's busiest night on the home schedule is Thursday, with nine dates. In addition, the Rangers will also play eight Monday and Tuesday games, and four Wednesday tilts at The Garden. The lone Friday evening contest is vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 10.
Starting times for all home games will be 7:00 PM, except for the following five dates: Sat., Nov. 5 vs. New Jersey (1:00 PM); Sat., Nov. 19 vs. Carolina (1:00 PM); Sun., Dec. 18 vs. Colorado (5:00 PM); Sat., Jan. 7 vs. Florida (1:00 PM); Sun., Mar. 12 vs. Atlanta (5:00 PM).