With the release of the 2012-13 NHL schedule today, Blackhawks fans got their first look at their team’s home and road dates for the upcoming campaign. Here are a few dates fans should circle in their calendars for the approaching regular season.
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Tue., Oct. 16 at Winnipeg – Not only will the game mark the Blackhawks’ first away matchup against the new iteration of the Jets, but it also marks a homecoming for Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who will play his first regular-season NHL game in front of his hometown fans. It’s safe to expect a fair number of red No. 19 sweaters in the stands for that one.
Tue., Oct. 30 vs. Phoenix – The Blackhawks’ final game in the month of October features a rematch of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals series, which the Coyotes won in six games, and also featured an NHL record five consecutive overtime decisions. Chicago fans are unlikely to see Raffi Torres in action, however, who as of now will still be sitting out due to his 25-game suspension for his hit on Marian Hossa during the series.
Mon., Nov. 5 vs. Pittsburgh – One of only two Monday night home games on the Blackhawks’ docket in 2012-13, the team will face perennial Eastern Conference contender Pittsburgh for the only time this season. Assuming he’s healthy, the game will mark Sidney Crosby’s first appearance at the United Center since Jan. 13, 2006, his rookie season.
Wed., Nov. 21 at Los Angeles – Game five of the annual “Circus Trip” marks the Blackhawks’ first matchup against the 2012 Stanley Cup champions. The Blackhawks went 1-2-1 against the Kings in 2011-12.
Fri., Nov. 30 vs. Calgary – Assuming he suits up for every game up to this point, Marian Hossa will appear in his 1,000th NHL game in front of the home crowd against the Flames. The five-time All-Star has 904 points (417G, 487A) in 978 NHL games through the end of this past season.
Tue., Jan. 29 at Columbus – Any Blackhawks who represent the team at the 2013 All-Star Game had better pack heavy; the team faces off against the Blue Jackets to start the season’s unofficial second half, the first game of a six-game road trip. The team will make three six-game road trips over the course of the 2012-13 season.
Fri., Feb. 15 vs. Anaheim – As part of a season-long seven-game homestand, Chicago will welcome the Ducks to the United Center for a weekend contest. The second half of February is packed with home games against strong teams, including Boston, Detroit, Vancouver and Ottawa. It’s important that the Blackhawks rack up points at home while they can: they play 13 of their last 21 games on the road.
Fri., April 12-Sat., April 13 vs. St. Louis – The Blackhawks close out the regular season with a home-and-home series against the arch-rival Blues, who captured the Central Division this past season. The Hawks went 4-2-0 against the division champions last year.