The 2017-18 NHL season has been over for all of two weeks, but the league is already turning the page and moving on to next year.
The NHL released the schedule for the 2018-19 season Thursday afternoon. The league will open with four games on Oct. 3, headlined by the Capitals raising their Stanley Cup banner before hosting the Bruins.
The Rangers will open at home on the second night of the season, hosting Nashville on Oct. 4. The Predators won the Central Division last year before losing in the second round to Winnipeg.
Over a third of each team’s games are against divisional opponents, but strangely the Rangers won’t host a Metropolitan Division rival until November 21 when the Islanders make the short trip over from Brooklyn.
Though they won’t be playing any outdoor games this year, the Rangers will likely showcase on NBC’s national broadcasts a few times. Most national games haven’t been selected yet, but the NHL did announce the Flyers would host the Rangers for their Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. That game will be on NBC.
If the Rangers hang around the playoff hunt towards the end of the season, they’ll have plenty of big games late. In the final week of the season, four of their five games come against divisional opponents, including home against Columbus and at Pittsburgh on back-to-back nights to end the year.
The New York area’s other two teams will open away from home. The Islanders’ new era under Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz begins Oct. 4 in Carolina before the team returns home for its Barclays Center opener against the Predators Oct. 6.