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The Rangers went on an impressive hot streak last season that took them to the playoffs. Can they do it again in 2021?

With the realignment of divisions in the 2021 NHL season, the New York Rangers have found themselves in the most difficult division, the East.

As a result, their schedule, which was released along with the schedules of every other team on Wednesday, is a daunting one.

The Rangers began last season with a long, rough stretch, but were able to get over it and become one of the winningest teams in the league when the season came to a halt.

That success, along with the expanded playoffs, landed them a spot in the Toronto bubble, when they were subsequently swept in the qualifying round by the Carolina Hurricanes in three games.

The fact that they even made the playoffs and went on to land the incredibly impressive Alexis Lafrenière with the first pick of the draft are signs of promise for the future.

However, because the team is young and will be playing some of the strongest squads in the league, heading back to the playoffs is unlikely (but not impossible).

Let’s take a sneak peek at some highlights of the Rangers’ 2021 regular-season schedule.

The Rangers will kick off the season by hosting their rivals, the New York Islanders, in two games on Jan. 14 and 16.

All eyes will be on both nets, as we’ll likely see the promising young Russian goaltenders (and friends) Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin face off.

The first Jack Hughes vs. Kaapo Kakko (the first two picks of the 2019 draft) battle of the year will come next at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 19.

Things will begin to get particularly tough for the Blueshirts on Feb 8. The Rangers will host the Islanders again, the Boston Bruins for two games, and then the Philadelphia Flyers.

They will then head to Philadelphia on Feb. 18 and then move on to Washington for a two-game set with the Capitals. They’ll then head back to Philadelphia before heading home on Feb. 26 to host the Bruins for two games.

Their second tough stretch doesn’t come long after. The Rangers will begin a road trip on March 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins for two games and then move on to Boston for two games. They’ll then host the Flyers for two games.

The end of the schedule isn’t easy for the Rangers, either. They’ll see the Islanders in two games beginning on April 29 and will then host the Capitals for two games before finishing off the season in a two-game series at Boston.

The Rangers likely have one of the most difficult schedules in the league and seeing them finish top four in the division to secure a spot in the playoffs is unrealistic.

However, it’s often forgotten that the Rangers are still incredibly young and are still rebuilding. The development of their players is the organization’s number one priority and the challenges the squad will face this season will prove to be crucial.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.