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Must-Watch Games In October On New York Rangers’ Schedule

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New York Rangers' October Schedule

New York Rangers
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The first month of the 2013-14 NHL season will be a long one for the New York Rangers. Madison Square Garden is still undergoing renovations on their $1 billion makeover, forcing the Blueshirts to start their campaign with nine straight road games, including five against Western Conference opponents. This is significant because last year Eastern Conference teams did not play Western Conference teams due to the lockout-shortened season. This means the Rangers will face teams they haven’t seen in over a year.

Along with the unfamiliar faces, the Rangers are slated to face off against several bitter rivals in the first month. After they return from the West coast, the Blueshirts get thrown right into divisional matchups that are sure to help kick off the start of their season with a bang.

New Head Coach Alain Vigneault will have his work cut out for him to try and help his team stay rested during the extended road trip, only to come back and be thrown into the fire against division foes. It wont be an easy task. But if the Rangers can weather the storm in the first month of the season, it could be a good sign of things to come for the rest of their year.

Although there is no such thing as an unimportant game, here is a look at some of the matchups in October that stand out among the rest.

Martin Burns is a New York Rangers’ and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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7. New York Rangers vs Phoenix Coyotes

New York at Phoenix
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

When and Where: October 3, Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, Arizona

You may not look at this game as a great matchup considering the Phoenix Coyotes will not be a great team this year, but it is still the first game of the season for the Rangers which is more than enough reason to be excited for it. If you’re on the East Coast, expect to stay up late as the puck is scheduled to drop at 10:00 p.m. ET.

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6. New York Rangers vs San Jose Sharks

New York at San Jose
Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

When and Where: October 8, SAP Center, San Jose, California

The San Jose Sharks are a fantastic hockey team. Just like the Rangers, the Sharks were bounced in the conference semi finals last season. Last season, Vigneault was head coach of the Vancouver Canucks when the Sharks swept them in the first round. Expect Vigneault to want revenge. We will also have a great goaltending matchup with the most recent Vezina Trophy runner-ups, Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Niemi, squaring off against each other.

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5. New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals

New York at Washington
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When and Where: October 16, Verizon Center, Washington, DC

The Rangers return back East to face off against the rival Washington Capitals. The Rangers and the Caps have become accustomed to meeting each other in the playoffs recently, with the Rangers knocking the Caps out of the postseason the last two seasons in a row. Both teams were so evenly matched that the series went seven games both times. Expect the bad blood to continue in a hard-hitting, tension-filled game in Washington.

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4. New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils

New York at New Jersey
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When and Where: October 19, Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

This will mark the first meeting of the season for the long time cross-river rivals. Over the last decade, the New Jersey Devils have been the more successful of the two teams. But after missing the postseason last year and losing key players like David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils have fallen upon hard times. The Rangers will recognize a couple faces who are new to the Devils in Ryane Clowe and Jaromir Jagr. The former Rangers signed with New Jersey as free agents this offseason.

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3. New York Rangers vs Philadelphia Flyers

New York at Philadelphia
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When and Where: October 24, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Rangers and their fans despise the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers and their fans despise the Rangers. They're arguably the most heated rivalry in the NHL. What’s not to love about this matchup? Although the Flyers are coming off a disappointing year that saw them miss out on the postseason, anything can happen when these two teams get together. No matter what time of year, these games are always a must watch.

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2. New York Rangers vs Montreal Canadiens

Montreal at New York
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When and Where: October 28, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

Finally, the Rangers make it home to The Garden to meet the Montreal Canadiens for a battle between Original 6 rivals. This game is important because it will mark the first home game for the Blueshirts in 2013, but also because Original 6 matchups are still the best games in hockey. Expect a raucous crowd at The Garden and a good game between two of the most storied franchises in the NHL.

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1. New York Rangers vs New York Islanders

Rangers at Islanders
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When and Where: October 29, Nassau Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

Like the Rangers-Flyers rivalry, the Rangers and the New York Islanders could arguably lay claim to the fiercest rivalry in the NHL. The first battle over New York hockey supremacy takes place with the Rangers visiting Long Island. The Isles have a young team coming off a surprising year that saw them make the postseason for the first time since 2007. Captained by one of the top five players in the NHL, John Tavares, the Isles have the makings of a team ready to compete annually for the Stanley Cup. Not if the Rangers have anything to say about it. The Blueshirts will try to continue to exert their dominance over their rivals early on to set the tone for the rest of the year.