New York Rangers: January presents a new hurdle for Blueshirts
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The schedule has been kind to the New York Rangers so far in the 2017-18 season. Come January, that’s going to change.

The National Hockey League did the New York Rangers a favor in regards to the schedule. Traveling has been light as has the frequency of back-back games. The team has played a large part of their schedule at MSG, but that will change as the team enters the New Year.

January is going to be a huge month for the Rangers. They have a big West coast trip, three sets of back-back games, only four games at Madison Square Garden and another special event called the Winter Classic.

The Rangers will kick off January with the 10th Anniversary of the Winter Classic where they will faceoff against the Buffalo Sabres at CitiField on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. The Rangers are the road team even though they are playing in New York City. This has to do with an agreement made with the city of New York. So this will be the first of eight January road games for the Blueshirts.

Following a home game against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, Jan. 3, the Rangers will then travel to the West coast for the first time all season as they visit the Arizona Coyotes and the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 6 and 7, respectively. This will be their first visit to Las Vegas and it comes at a great time as the Rangers will get a five-day break in the schedule (Jan. 8 to Jan. 12) following the Golden Knights game. Maybe a little sun and fun for the boys in Vegas?

They return to action on Saturday, Jan. 13, hosting the New York Islanders before heading to Pittsburgh on the 14th in their first back-to-back of the month. The two games here are unusual as they are both afternoon tilts. The Islanders game begins at 1:00 p.m. ET while the game at Pittsburgh is a 12:30 p.m. start.

The Rangers then will have two games in a row at MSG—Jan. 16 vs Philadelphia and Jan. 18 against Buffalo.

Following the Sabres game, the team will pack up and begin a four-games-in-six-nights road trip. It begins at Colorado on Jan. 20th and continues in Los Angeles on Jan. 21. The Rangers will finish up the road trip with stops in Anaheim on Jan. 23 and San Jose on Jan. 25.

The Rangers have been able to play Henrik Lundqvist quite a bit this season so far. The reasoning the organization has given was the ease of schedule for Lundqvist and the team. With little travel and back-to-back games, it made sense to play Henrik since he has been on a great run.

Now is where the hard part begins. The Rangers are going to have to hope that back up goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was the right man when he was signed to back up the King. He is finally going to have to earn his money as the travel and condensed scheduling starts to hit the team hard.

Many have questioned Pavelec’s ability to be a component back up. He has only appeared in seven games this season (2-4-0) but he should see plenty of ice time to improve his record and build a little trust among Rangerstown.

Date Time (ET) Opponent Note
Jan. 1 1 p.m. @ Buffalo Winter Classic at CitiField
Jan. 3 8 p.m. vs. Chicago
Jan. 6 8 p.m. @ Arizona
Jan. 7 9:30 p.m. @ Las Vegas
Jan. 13 1 p.m. vs. New York Islanders
Jan. 14 12:30 p.m. @ Pittsburgh
Jan. 16 7 p.m. vs. Philadelphia
Jan. 18 7:30 p.m. vs. Buffalo
Jan. 20 3 p.m. @ Colorado
Jan. 21 10:30 p.m. @ Los Angeles
Jan. 23 10 p.m. @ Anaheim
Jan. 25 10:30 p.m. @ San Jose
A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at