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A Closer Look At The Schedule

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
On July 15, with the draft and most of free agency dealt with, the season that is to come has shown its face.

The Maple Leafs’ schedule is out. Merry Christmas. To celebrate, we have set an hour aside for a live chat. The chat is set for 1 p.m. on Thursday. Submit your questions or comments and what game you are looking forward to!

The regular season begins October  1 when the Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre. Mike Komisarek’s Leafs debut will come against the team he left as a free agent. Komisarek will have to wait until Halloween to hear from Habs fans at the Bell Centre.

That game comes at the end of a five-game road trip that sees the Leafs travel to Vancouver, Anaheim, Dallas, Buffalo and Montreal over the course of eight days from October 24-31. The only comparable junket takes the Leafs from Washington to Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Florida over nine days in January.

The Leafs will play five home games in October, seven in November, eight in December six in January, just three in February because of the Olympic break, nine in March and three in April.

As usual, Saturday will be the most popular home night with 15 of the club’s 41 dates set for that day. By far, the next most popular day of the week is Tuesday with 13 games. That is followed by six games on Mondays, five on Thursdays and two on Wednesdays.

The Leafs will play six games, three at home and three on the road, against their Northeast Division rivals, Boston, Buffalo, Montreal and Ottawa.

They play four times, two home and two away, against the rest of the east, the Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils, the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Leafs fans will not get to see the up and coming Chicago Blackhawks but will see their longstanding rivals, the Detroit Red Wings, on Saturday  November 7. Likewise the Vancouver Canucks, led by gifted goalie Roberto Luongo, visit Air Canada Centre on January 30. Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky makes his pilgrimage to Toronto Wednesday December  16.

The Leafs will host the Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins October 10 and January 9.

The Olympic break means the Leafs will play their last game in February, Friday the 12th in St. Louis. The combination of the break and the twists of the schedule mean the Leaf fans must wait 21 days, from February 8 to March 2 to see the club.

Other dates to keep in mind: Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals are in town, Saturday November 21 and Saturday December 12; John Tavares, the first overall choice in the entry draft visits Monday November 21.

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