Rangers remaining schedule filled with intense division rivalry games

NHL: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers along with the rest of the NHL are in the stretch run to the playoffs of the 2023-24 hockey season. For the Blueshirts, they had a hot start with a tremendous record, but slowed down significantly towards the end of December before heating back up after the All-Star Break in late January.

Heading into their Stadium Series matchup at MetLife against the New York Islanders, they sit atop the Metro Division with a record of 35-16-3 for 73 points. However, what many may not realize is that the Rangers schedule to this point has been devoid of games against bitter rivals.

When the Rangers and Islanders square off on Sunday, it will be the first meeting between the clubs, with three more heated tilts by the time season ends. Matter of fact, of the 28 games remaining on the docket, 13 are against big-time division rivals, which also includes the New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins. When you include the two games against the bottom-feeding Columbus Blue Jackets, that’s 15 contests all against Metro opponents.

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New York Rangers rivalry filled schedule

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers played some rivalry games this season against the Penguins, Devils, and Flyers. They came up winners in all three of those contests. As for the Hurricanes, they paid two visits to Madison Square Garden with each team taking a game for a 1-1-0 record. New York also concluded their season series against the rival Washington Capitals going 2-2-0.

With these games behind them, this leaves two more against the Penguins, three against the Devils, and another three versus a surprisingly good Flyers squad led by John Tortorella.

Rangers vs Devils

The Rangers had the pleasure of beating the Devils at Prudential Center back in November thanks to a late-game surge, winning 5-3. The two bitter rivals met in a roller-coaster-like playoff series last April, won by the Devils in 7 games, and the hate shared by each fanbase has yet to subside. These Hudson River rivals will meet again in Newark on Feb. 22nd, and in Manhattan on Mar. 11th and Apr. 3rd. As the Devils continue to underperform, they are setting up these games into being absolutely crucial if they hope to make the playoffs. Currently, New Jersey sits in fourth place in the Metro with 58 points and are two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild card spot in the East.

Rangers vs Torts’ Flyers

Former Rangers’ head coach, John Tortorella, came into the season with low expectations in a challenging Metro Division. However, they have exceeded anything prognosticators had in mind for them with a firm hold on third place at 65 points. New York bested them 3-1 back in November and will have hands full. These squads will face off on Feb. 24th in Philly, and conclude with games at the Garden on Mar. 26th, and Apr. 11th.

Rangers vs Patrick Roy’s fiery Islanders

Patrick Roy is the newest face behind the bench on the Island after they fired Lane Lambert. The goaltending legend was rumored as a possible candidate for the Rangers vacant job this past offseason before the hiring of Peter Laviolette. Roy will now coach the Islanders in four tilts against the Rangers in the last leg of the season, including the Stadium Series matchup at Metlife Stadium on Feb. 18th. The Rangers and Islanders will also meet at MSG on March 17th and April 13th, and once on Long Island on April 9th. All of these games are crucial for Isles, who are fifth in the Metro with 57 points and three points out of a wild card spot.

Rangers vs Sidney Crosby and the Pens

Jonathan Quick posted a 1-0 shutout back in November in their only tilt to date. The Penguins have had a disappointing season by their standards, but are not to be counted out down the stretch when they play New York again on Mar. 16th in Pittsburgh, and Apr. 1st at the Garden. The Pens will be desperate, as they sit sixth in the division with 55 points. These will be tough games for the Rangers with Sidney Crosby is still playing at an elite level at age 36. This season, he’s potted 30 goals and 54 points making him a very dangerous player.

Rangers vs Hurricanes

The Rangers and Hurricanes have split their season series to this point and will meet once more in Raleigh, North Carolina on Mar. 12th. After Sebastian Aho’s collision with Adam Fox in November, and the spanking the Rangers received from the Canes on Jan. 2nd, this final game will be an intense battle between two heavyweights for the Metro Division

Let’s not forget the Blue Jackets

Considering the Rangers are 1-1-0 against the lowly Blue Jackets, with that victory coming in a shootout, it’s noteworthy to point out that they play two more times this season. A home-and-home series set for Feb. 25th and 28th that starts in Columbus, where John Davidson’s team would love to play spoiler against his former club’s Metro Division aspirations.

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