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Breaking Down the 2017-18 Schedule

Highlights and trends of this season's schedule

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Summer just officially began on Wednesday, but we're already wondering: is it October yet?

The Carolina Hurricanes' 2017-18 regular-season schedule was released today, and the team will open its 20th Anniversary season at home on Saturday, Oct. 7 against Eric Staal and the Minnesota Wild.


Here is a breakdown of some of the highlights from the Hurricanes' 2017-18 schedule.

20th Begins at Home

For the first time in three years, the Hurricanes will begin their season on home ice. The Canes open against the Wild on Saturday, Oct. 7 before the Columbus Blue Jackets come to town on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Three additional home games find their way onto the schedule in the last week of October, quite the stark contrast to just a season ago when the team didn't host its home opener until Oct. 28.

On the Road Again

After the Canes begin their 20th Anniversary season with a pair of home games, the team will hit the road as the State Fair rolls into town. As far as State Fair road trips go, though, this one isn't too grueling. The team will travel through Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary before capping off the week away from home in Dallas.

What Happens in Vegas …

The Hurricanes will make their first-ever visit to Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 12 to face off with the NHL's newest franchise. The Vegas Golden Knights will then make their PNC Arena debut on Sunday, Jan. 21.

Go West, Young Man

The Hurricanes will embark on their longest road trip of the season in early December, a trip that will span over 6,000 miles, two countries, six cities and 11 days. The sojourn begins in Vancouver on Dec. 5, then proceeds through all three California cities and Las Vegas, and ends in Buffalo on Dec. 15.

Home Sweet Home

The Canes' longest homestand of the season is also the team's longest since 2002, as Carolina will play eight consecutive games at PNC Arena from Jan. 30 through Feb. 13. That homestand falls in the midst of a stretch that will see the Hurricanes play 11 of 12 games at home coming out of the All-Star break.

Facing the Champs (Again)

The Canes will square off with the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners of back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, four times in the 2017-18 season. The two Metropolitan Division opponents will first meet on Friday, Dec. 29 in Raleigh, followed up just six days later on Jan. 4 in Pittsburgh. Not even two weeks after that on Jan. 23, the two teams will square off again at PPG Paints Arena, and the season series will conclude on Friday, Feb. 23 at PNC Arena.

Going Back to Back

The Hurricanes will play 18 sets of back-to-back games in the 2017-18 season, the most they've faced since the 2013-14 campaign. One of the sets is a home-and-home series: Jan. 11-12 against the Washington Capitals. Two of the 18 sets will not involve travel for the Canes: Feb. 1 vs. Montreal and Feb. 2 vs. Detroit, and Feb. 9 vs. Vancouver and Feb. 10 vs. Colorado.

Bye Week & All-Star Game (& No Olympic Break)

Introduced in 2016-17, the "bye week" is returning this season with some alterations. Last season, each team had a random set of five consecutive days off that fell at some point between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28. This season, 15 teams will take their bye week one week while the remaining 16 teams take theirs the next. The hope is that this structure restores some of the competitive balance that was clearly absent last season with teams coming out of their rest period. This season, the Hurricanes' bye week begins Monday, Jan. 15 and continues through Friday, Jan. 19.

The following weekend, the league will rest again briefly for All-Star Weekend festivities in Tampa Bay.

Absent from the schedule is a prolonged break for the 2018 Winter Olympics, in which the NHL will not be participating.

Friday Night Lights

The Hurricanes will play nine Friday home games this season, and all but one will face off at 7:30 p.m., a timing adjustment that was introduced last season in an effort to allow fans some extra time on the final day of the traditional workweek to make their way out to the rink. Among the opponents that will be featured at PNC Area on Fridays are Pittsburgh, Toronto, Washington and Detroit.

The Matrix

With the introduction of the NHL's 31st franchise, the scheduling matrix received a slight tweak heading into the 2017-18 season to ensure that each team will still travel to and host the other 30 teams in the league at least once each season. Within the Metropolitan Division, gone are the four- and five-game season series splits; now, the Canes will face their seven divisional opponents four times each (twice at home and twice on the road). The Canes will face their eight Atlantic Division opponents three times each; they'll match up with four opponents twice at home and once on the road and the other four opponents once at home and twice on the road, and this will rotate next season. Finally, the Canes will play each of the 15 Western Conference teams once at home and once on the road.


Compared to the 2016-17's condensed 82-game campaign, this season's schedule is much more balanced. March, as is typically the case, is the busiest month, featuring 16 games - eight at home and eight on the road - in a span of 31 days.

The Canes will log a lot of miles in the air in December, as they play 10 of their 15 games in the month on the road. It's the opposite story in February, when the Canes are home for 10 of 13.

Month Home Road Total
October 5 5 10
November 7 6 13
December 5 10 15
January 5 7 12
February 10 3 13
March 8 8 16
April 1 2 3

Plan to spend your weekends at PNC Arena, as more than of the Hurricanes' 41 home games (26) will be played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In total, the weekend houses exactly half of the Canes' 82-game schedule.

Saturday is the busiest day of the weekend; the Hurricanes will play on 19 of the 27 Saturdays between game No. 1 and No. 82, with nine games at home and 10 on the road. The Canes play nine games, including eight at home, on Sundays throughout the season, and all but one will face off prior to 7 p.m., including a pair of 1 p.m. matinees.

Wednesday remains light with just two games, both at home: Nov. 22 (the day before Thanksgiving) against the New York Rangers and Dec. 27 (the first game following the three-day Christmas break) against Montreal.

Day Home Road Total
Monday 2 3 5
Tuesday 9 10 19
Wednesday 2 0 2
Thursday 2 13 15
Friday 9 4 13
Saturday 9 10 19
Sunday 8 1 9
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