The Edmonton Oilers open their 30th anniversary season on Sunday, October 12, 2008, hosting Northwest Division rival, the Colorado Avalanche at Rexall Place.
It is the first of 82 games for the Oilers as they celebrate their 30th season in the NHL since joining the world’s premier league in 1979-80. The 2008-09 NHL season marks the first time since 2003-04 that all 30 NHL teams will play at least one game against all of the League’s teams.
This season’s schedule will see the Oilers play six games (three home and three road) against their Northwest Division opponents – Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild – for a total of 24 games. The Oilers will play four games against each of the remaining teams in the Western Conference, facing their Central and Pacific Division opponents twice at home and twice on the road for another 40 games.
Edmonton will play a total of 18 games against Eastern Conference opponents to round out the 82-game schedule. The Oilers will play eight games against teams from the Northeast Division and five each against Atlantic and Southeast Division opponents.
The new schedule will see the Oilers play two games against each of their three Canadian rivals from eastern Canada. The Oilers will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rexall Place on Thursday, November 13th and the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, December 30th, while the Montreal Canadiens, who will be celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 2008-09, will visit Edmonton on Wednesday, February 11th.
The Oilers will visit their Canadian rivals in March as part of a four-game road trip that will see them play at Nashville (March 3rd), Ottawa (March 5th), Toronto (March 7th) and Montreal (March 10th).
The Detroit Red Wings will visit Rexall Place twice during the season as the Stanley Cup Champions make their first appearance in Edmonton on Thursday, November 20th and return on Tuesday, March 24th. Edmonton will not host the Stanley Cup finalist Pittsburgh Penguins this season, but will make a trip to Mellon Arena to take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Thursday, November 6th.
The Battle of Alberta will once again be highlighted as the Oilers will face-off against their provincial rival, the Calgary Flames six times. Two of the six games come in the first week of the season as the Oilers travel to Calgary on Friday, October 17th and then host the Flames at Rexall Place on Saturday, October 18th. Edmonton will play a New Year’s Eve game at the Pengrowth Saddledome on December 31st and will host the Flames on February 21st before concluding the season with another home-and-home series on April 10th and 11th.
Weekend games are again highlighted in the Oilers’ home schedule with 18 of the team’s 41 home dates being played on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The Oilers will play eight games on Saturday, six on Sunday and four on Friday. Games are slated for every day of the week with the busiest night of the week at Rexall Place being Tuesday with 10 games. There will be three games played on Monday, four on Wednesday and six on Thursday.
The Oilers will play only six of their first 20 games at Rexall Place. After opening night vs. the Avalanche, the Oilers will play only two more games at Rexall Place in October, with another four home dates in November. Edmonton will play six road games in October and 10 in November before playing eight home games in December and nine more at Rexall Place in January.
The final three months of the season will see a balanced schedule as the Oilers play 17 home and 17 road games over the season’s final 34 games from February to April. Six of Edmonton’s final seven games will be played at home as they host one of two six-game homestands from March 29th to April 10th. The Oilers will also have a six-game homestand from January 18th to February 3rd. Edmonton also has a five-game (January 3-11) and two four-game homestands (December 19-30 and February 21-28) on tap.
The Oilers longest road trip of the season will see them play seven games away from home from October 30th to November 10th, while they also have two four-game road swings from February 14-19 and March 3-10.
The 2008-09 NHL schedule, which features 1,230 games, opens on Tuesday, October 4th and concludes on Sunday, April 12th. Wednesday, April 15th marks the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL will take its 2009 All-Star break from January 22nd to 25th with the 57th NHL All-Star Game being played on Sunday, January 25th at the Bell Centre in Montreal.