*All times Mountain - dates and times subject to change
DETROIT RED WINGS Saturday, October 8 (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday, December 4 (6:00 p.m.)
The storied rivalry continues as the Avalanche hosts the 11-time Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings on Opening Night, Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m. The Avalanche will raise Peter Forsberg’s #21 in a special pregame ceremony on Opening Night and fans in attendance will receive a free Mini Banner and Forsberg Alumni Poster. Seven-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup winner Nicklas Lidstrom returns for his 20th NHL season.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS Thursday, October 20 (7:00 p.m.) and Tuesday, February 7 (7:00 p.m.)
The 14-game Avs Pack includes both meetings at Pepsi Center between the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions and the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche won three of the four matchups against the Hawks last season, including both at Pepsi Center. Offseason acquisitions include veteran defensemen Steve Montador and Sean O’Donnell and forwards Andrew Brunette and Daniel Carcillo.
DALLAS STARS Friday, November 18 (7:00 p.m.)
The Stars finished the season with 95 points, the most of any team to miss the playoffs. Despite losing Mike Richards via free agency, the Stars were active signing recent Cup-winner Michael Ryder, Radek Dvorak, Vernon Fiddler and veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray to add to the Stars’ depth. The Avs split the season series 2-2.
EDMONTON OILERS Saturday, November 26 (5:00 p.m.)
The Oilers have had the first overall pick in the last two drafts, choosing Taylor Hall in 2010 and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011. Although Nugent-Hopkins isn’t a lock to make the team out of training camp, the Oilers have a young core of highly skilled players including Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagne. Linus Omark, who became a YouTube sensation after his spin-o-rama shootout goal in December, also figures into the Oil’s future. Former Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth makes his return to Edmonton after spending the last two seasons with Los Angeles.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS Wednesday, November 30 (7:30 p.m.)
The Devils return to Pepsi Center for the first time in nearly two years with goaltender Martin Brodeur returning for his 19th season with the club. The 39-year-old netminder currently holds the record for all-time regular season victories (625) and ranks second all-time in postseason victories (99). Adam Larsson, the Devils’ first pick (fourth overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft signed an entry-level contract with the club on July 15.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS Saturday, December 17 (7:00 p.m.)
After being swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season and a first round exit at the hands of the Canadiens the year before, the Capitals made significant changes during the offseason, signing free agents Joel Ward (Nashville), Roman Hamrlik (Montreal) and Tomas Vokoun (Florida). Fans will get to see superstar Alex Ovechkin at Pepsi Center for the first time in two years.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Friday, December 23 (7:00 p.m.)
Led by Martin St. Louis’ 95 points during the 2010-11 regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning qualified for the postseason for the first time in four years and eventually took the Boston Bruins to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in a 1-0 defeat. Steven Stamkos, who finished the season with 45 goals, and veteran Vincent Lecavalier round out the core of a Lightning squad coming off its second-best season in franchise history.
MINNESOTA WILD Tuesday, January 24 (7:00 p.m.)
The new-look Minnesota Wild visits Pepsi Center for the first time this season on Tuesday, January 24. Blockbuster trades brought former Sharks forwards Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley to Minnesota in exchange for defenseman Brent Burns and forward Martin Havlat. The division rivals also lost forward Andrew Brunette to free agency (Chicago).
LOS ANGELES KINGS Wednesday, February 22 (7:00 p.m.)
After Brad Richards signed with the New York Rangers, the Los Angeles Kings wasted no time trading for a top-six center. The Kings pulled off a huge trade with Philadelphia, acquiring then-Flyers captain Mike Richards in exchange for Wayne Simmonds, prospect Brayden Schenn and a 2012 second round pick. In addition to Richards, the Kings signed forward Simon Gagne via free agency.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS Saturday, March 3 (7:00 p.m.)
Despite feeling post-concussion symptoms during his offseason workout routine, Sidney Crosby hopes to participate in training camp or join the club soon after. Forward Evgeni Malkin is reportedly ready for training camp and has spent his offseason in Russia rehabilitating his surgically repaired right knee.
ANAHEIM DUCKS Monday, March 12 (7:00 p.m.)
Led by a trio of young superstars, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan, the Anaheim Ducks found themselves in fourth place in the Western Conference entering the 2011 postseason. Perry was the lone 50-goal scorer in the NHL and eventually went on to capture his first ever Hart Trophy. If Teemu Selanne decides to lace up his skates for at least another year, fans will get to watch the “Finnish Flash” play in his 19th NHL season. A future Hall of Famer, the 41-year-old tallied an eye-opening 80 points last season. Defenseman Cam Fowler returns for his sophomore campaign and veteran d-man Lubomir Visnovsky hopes to improve upon his impressive 68-point season (career high). Jonas Hiller, who suffered from vertigo after the All Star Game, reports that he has been symptom free during the offseason and plans to return between the pipes.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS Saturday, March 24 (8:00 p.m.)
After a heartbreaking defeat in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Vancouver Canucks parted ways with five players from their Cup Finals roster – most notably defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who signed a 10-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Kessler, who had offseason hip surgery, is questionable for the start the season. Henrik and Daniel Sedin return for their 11th season with the Vancouver Canucks.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS Saturday, April 7 (7:00 p..m.)
The Avalanche closes out the 2011-12 regular season hosting the Predators on Fan Appreciation Night. With Norris Trophy finalist Shea Weber signed to a one-year extension, the Nashville Predators hope to improve upon the organization’s first-ever Conference Semifinals appearance. Pekka Rinne was among the league’s Vezina Trophy finalists, finishing the regular season with a 33-22-9 record, 2.12 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts in 64 appearances. Although they lost forward Joel Ward to free agency, the Predators re-signed Sergei Kostitsyn and fellow forwards Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand return for another season with the Preds. Prospect defenseman Ryan Ellis, who torched the Ontario Hockey League earning 101 points (24g/77a) in just 58 games last season, figures to get a long look in training camp.