The National Hockey League released the 2012-13 regular-season schedule today and the Penguins will open at home on Friday, Oct. 12 against the New York Islanders at 7 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins begin the season with back-to-back games, as they play their first road game one night later against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. That marks the first of 14 sets of back-to-back situations the Penguins will face.
In total, the Penguins will play nine of their first 13 regular-season games on the road – including a six-game road swing from Oct. 26-Nov. 7 that will take them to Ottawa, Washington, Columbus, New Jersey, Chicago and Toronto.
The Penguins will also have a six-game road trip later in the season between Feb. 26-March 9. That trip will see Pittsburgh face Florida, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, the NY Rangers, Carolina and Toronto.
Following the latter road trip, the Penguins will play a season-high seven-straight home games at CONSOL Energy Center from March 10-22 against Buffalo (twice), the NY Rangers, Boston, Florida, the NY Islanders and Philadelphia.
This will mark the team’s longest homestand since hosting eight straight games at Mellon Arena between March 14-April 1, 2009. Pittsburgh went 6-1-1 during that stretch en route to the franchise’s third Stanley Cup championship later that spring.
The Penguins’ schedule features six contests against each Atlantic Division opponent and four games against the other 10 Eastern Conference teams.
Pittsburgh will play at least one game against each of the Western Conference teams, including home-and-home series with Detroit (home, Dec. 27; road, Nov. 19), Minnesota (home, Nov. 26; road, Jan. 19) and St. Louis (home, Dec. 6; road, March 3).
This will mark the fourth time in the last five years that the Penguins and Red Wings have met twice in the regular season. The two teams played a pair of games against one another in three straight seasons from 2008-11, with the Penguins winning four of the six matchups. Pittsburgh and St. Louis are playing a home-and-home series for the second-straight year.
Other schedule notables include:
- Back-to-back visits from the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 10 and 12, respectively.
- Philadelphia will also be at CONSOL Energy Center on Feb. 20 and March 26. The Penguins get their first chance at revenge against the team that knocked them out of the 2012 postseason on Oct. 18 at the Wells Fargo Center.
- The reigning Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils make the first of three stops in Pittsburgh on Nov. 21.
- Pittsburgh will once again be home for Thanksgiving, as they bookend the holiday with games against the Devils (Nov. 21) and Carolina Hurricanes (Nov. 23) at CONSOL Energy Center.
- The Penguins will also be home on New Year’s Eve, when they will host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Dec. 31.
- Steven Stamkos, who led the NHL with 60 goals last season, makes his first visit on Jan. 8.
- Pittsburgh will get its first look at 2011 No. 1-overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins when he and the Edmonton Oilers visit on Nov. 10.