With the schedules released, the New York Rangers will have comfortable start, but will pay for it later.
The Blueshirts open the year with 14 of its first 21 games being played at Madison Square Garden. However, all good things must come to an end. The Rangers conclude the season with 11 of its last 17 games away from New York City.
However, the shortened season means that teams won't play any out-of-conference games all year (until the Stanley Cup) so the furthest west the Rangers will ever have to travel will be to Winnipeg — and that will only happen once.
The schedule will be played out as followed:
All teams will play 18 games within their division: four games (two home and two away) against two of the teams in the division (New Jersey and New York Islanders), five games (three home and two away) against another team in the division (Pittsburgh), and five games (two home and three away) against the remaining divisional opponent (Philadelphia).
To complete the schedule, clubs will play three games against each of the 10 remaining non-divisional opponents in their conference.
Outside the division, a team will face five clubs twice at home and once away, and play once at home and twice on the road against the other five teams.
The biggest issue for the Rangers will be the team's conditioning. In year's past, a key to success for John Tortorella was the team's conditioning. He'd run his team through a series of tests to assure they'd be mentally and physically ready for the season. However, these grueling tests would happen during training camp. With just a seven-day training camp prior to the start of the season, Tortorella won' have the luxury of his annual conditioning test.
Not having his players run through this test may frustrate Tortorella as the season wears on, but the new top line — Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash — should score enough goals so the team won't have to grind out as many wins as it needed to in the past.
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