- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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The NHL released the 2011-12 schedule this afternoon. Let's take a look at the New York Rangers schedule as they will look to make the playoffs for the second straight year.
STARTING OVERSEAS: The Rangers open their season internationally when the take on the Los Angeles King on Oct. 7 and the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 8 in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere. The Rangers are the road team in both games. This is the second time the Rangers have opened their season outside the United States.
THEY BETTER LIKE HOTELS: With Madison Square Garden being renovated, the Rangers first seven games are on the road. After the two games overseas, the rangers travel to the New York Islanders, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and the league's newest franchise, Winnipeg.
WE'RE FINALLY HOME: The Rangers first home game will be on Oct. 27 against Toronto. That starts a stretch of six straight home games for the Rangers, with Ottawa, San Jose, Anaheim, Montreal and Winnipeg following.
WINTER CLASSIC: As has been previously reported, the Rangers will face the Flyers on Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park in the Winter Classic. It will be the first time the Rangers play in the game.
BRING ON THE CHAMPS: The Rangers get the first hacks at the defending champions on Jan. 21 when they head to Boston. The teams will play the first two games of their season set in Boston, before heading to New York for the final two games.
THE RIVALS: The Rangers and Islanders will meet six times next season, with the first game marking the Rangers first regular season game in the United States. The first two games are at the Islanders, the next two are at the Rangers, the teams head back to Long Island for one game before finishing the series in Manhattan.
OUT FOR REVENGE: The Rangers will get their first chance at revenge against the Capitals, whom knocked them out of the playoffs in five games in the quarterfinals, on Nov. 25 in Washington. The teams play four times next season.
WILD, WILD WEST: The Rangers will face each team in the Western Conference at least once, with home-and-home series with Phoenix, Chicago and Anaheim (although the Anaheim home game is in Sweden). The Rangers will also host Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, Dallas, San Jose and Colorado.
DON'T LET IT COME TO THE LAST DAY: The Rangers have determined their playoff fate on the last day of the season two straight seasons. That might not be a good strategy this year. The Rangers final five games are against 2011 playoff teams, with the Rangers hosting Montreal and Boston, before heading to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and then hosting Washington in the season finale.
62dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald