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Numerical highlights of the 2009-10 NHL schedule

by John Kreiser / Vancouver Canucks
The 2009-10 NHL schedule was announced Wednesday. The season begins Oct. 1 and ends more than 27 weeks later, on April 11. Each team will play 82 games -- 24 against teams in its own division, 40 against non-division teams in its own conference and the rest against the other conference.

Here's a look at some of the more interesting numbers for the upcoming season:

0 -- Games scheduled Oct. 4, the only non-holiday or Olympic-related date in the season on which there are no games scheduled.

3 -- Longest homestand, in games, for the New York Rangers, who have six of them. For the second season in a row, the Rangers are the only team that doesn't have at least one four-game homestand.

4 -- Games scheduled for Oct. 1, the opening night of the season. Montreal will visit Toronto, Washington is at Boston, Vancouver visits Calgary and the Colorado Avalanche will retire Joe Sakic's No. 19 before hosting the San Jose Sharks.

5 -- Consecutive home games at the start of the season for the Boston Bruins, the longest season-opening homestand for any team this season. The Bruins' Northeast Division rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, have the opposite start -- they play their first five games on the road.

6 -- Games on Feb. 14, the final day of play before the NHL takes a two-week break for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The schedule resumes when Detroit visits Colorado on March 1.

6 --
Games in the Pittsburgh Penguins' final homestand -- the last six regular-season games scheduled to be played at Mellon Arena. The Penguins host the New York Islanders on April 8 in the regular-season finale at the NHL's oldest facility. The club will move across the street to Consol Energy Center for the 2010-11 season.

11 -- Years since the New York Islanders have opened the season at home. The Islanders host Pittsburgh on Oct. 3, the first time they've opened their season at the Nassau Coliseum since 1998 and just the fifth time in franchise history. They're hoping this one goes better than the last -- Pittsburgh won 4-3 to start the 1998-99 season.

14 -- Consecutive road games for the Vancouver Canucks, from Jan. 30 through March 10, the longest road trip in NHL history. The Canucks play their last eight games before the Olympic break away from G.M. Place, and then hit the road again for their first six after play resumes following the Games. The trip comes after the Canucks play 16 of 23 games at home, including eight in a row in December.

15 -- Games on Oct. 3 and Oct. 24, the first time the NHL has scheduled all 30 teams to play on the same day twice in the same season. Before this season, the only time all 30 teams were scheduled to play on the same night were Oct. 5, 2005 -- when every team played on the first night of the season as the League returned after the work stoppage -- and Oct. 25, 2008.

17 --
Afternoon games for the Boston Bruins, the most in the NHL. The first of those games is a 1 p.m. ET home meeting with the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, Oct. 12.  Eleven of the games are at home, including the 2010 Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic, Jan. 1 against Philadelphia at Fenway Park.

17 -- Games away from the Staples Center for the Los Angeles Kings, in their first 31 contests. That's an enormous change from last season, when the Kings opened with 22 of their first 31 at home.

18 -- Inter-conference games for each team, the same as last season. Each team plays every team in the other conference (15 games), and there are three wild-card games.

20 -- Home games for the Anaheim Ducks in a trio of homestands. The Ducks play six in a row at Honda Center in October, seven straight from Nov. 19 to Dec. 1, and seven more in March. That’s nearly half of their home schedule.

40 -- Actual home games for the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers. All four teams open their seasons with a pair of games in Europe -- Detroit and St. Louis play in Stockholm, Sweden, while Chicago and Florida meet in Helsinki, Finland. Each club will serve as the "home" team.

100 -- Anniversary that will be celebrated by the Montreal Canadiens, when they host Boston on Dec. 4. The franchise was founded Dec. 4, 1909, by businessman J. Ambrose O’Brien as a member of the National Hockey Association, the precursor to the NHL.
1,000 -- Regular-season games for New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur -- if, as expected, he's in the net for the Devils' season-opener against Philadelphia on Oct. 3. Brodeur would join Patrick Roy as the only goaltenders to reach the 1,000-game mark.
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