The first day of Henrik Lundqvist's NHL career was Oct. 5, 2005, when the as yet uncrowned goaltender acted as backup to Kevin Weekes for the Rangers' opener in Philadelphia, which signified the return of the NHL following the 2004-05 canceled season.

"It was surreal to be part of an NHL game after working toward it for such a long time," Lundqvist told The Post yesterday. "But what I do remember most about that day is that when I went down to the room in the hotel for the team breakfast, I wasn't wearing a suit because I didn't know the rules.

"I saw Glen and Tom [GM Glen Sather and coach Tom Renney], and they told me to go back up to my room to change. So my first day in the NHL I broke the dress code."

Now fashionable New York hockey royalty, Lundqvist watched from the bench that night as the Rangers shocked the Flyers 5-3 to take the first step on what has been a 23-11-5 roll in the post-lockout series between the clubs that the Blueshirts lead in points, 51-37.