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NHL unveils Wings' schedule

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT – Four months after finding out that they will play host to the NHL’s marquee game on New Year’s Day – against the Toronto Maple Leafs at The Big House on the University of Michigan campus – the remaining dates for the Red Wings’ 2012-13 schedule was revealed.

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The Wings’ home docket features the return of the franchise’s Original Six rivals from the Eastern Conference with one obvious exception: The Leafs won’t visit Joe Louis Arena. However, Boston (Dec. 10), Montreal (Jan. 30), and the New York Rangers (Mar. 20) will play at The Joe.

The only way to guarantee a ticket to the New Year’s Day game against the Maple Leafs is to purchase a Red Wings’ season ticket plan. Besides the games against the Original Six teams, the home schedule features 10 Friday and four Saturday games.

For the ninth straight time the Wings will start the season at "home" when they open on Friday, Oct. 12 against Nashville. The Wings opened the 2009-10 season in Sweden as the "home team" against St. Louis.

The Predators defeated the Wings in five games of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series last April. Detroit will close the regular-season on Saturday, April 13 at Colorado.

The Wings will not play on the road against the Original Six teams from the East. However, Detroit will play both home and away games against Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and Eastern Conference champion New Jersey.

Detroit will also get its first look at the newly minted Stanley Cup champions when the Los Angeles Kings visit The Joe on Thursday, Nov. 29.

The game against the Jets, on Saturday, Oct. 27, will mark the first time in 17 years that the Wings will visit Manitoba. The Wings eliminated the Jets in the opening round of the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs. The next season, the Jets moved to Phoenix.

Washington and the New York Islanders are the other Eastern foes that will play at The Joe. The Wings will play all 15 teams from the East, but will face six – Buffalo, Carolina, Florida, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay – on the road.

Some other highlights include:

  • A home game against the Blackhawks on Easter Sunday, March 31.
  • Road games on Groundhog Day (Feb. 2) at Philadelphia and Good Friday (Mar. 29) at Dallas.
  • The St. Louis Blues visit The Joe on Wednesday, Nov. 21 on the traditional Thanksgiving Eve game.
  • The Wings will play a total of 28 games on back-to-back nights, including a grueling test on Oct. 26-27 when they host San Jose on Friday and then travel to Winnipeg for a Saturday afternoon game.
The return of several great promotional nights will be back at Joe Louis Arena this season, including the AT&T Bobblehead series, Fathead collective giveaways, Meijer Kids Nights, and the annual team wall calendar. The dates for these events, and more, will be announced at a later date.

Below is a breakdown of the Wings’ schedule by the days of the week:

SUNDAY – HOME: Chicago (Mar. 3); Chicago (Mar. 31); St. Louis (Apr. 7). ROAD: Chicago (Jan. 6); Anaheim (Jan. 13); St. Louis (Jan. 20); St. Louis (Feb. 10); Minnesota (Feb. 17); Colorado (Mar. 24).

MONDAY – HOME: Vancouver (Oct. 22); Pittsburgh (Nov. 19); Boston (Dec. 10); Anaheim (Mar. 18). ROAD: Los Angeles (Feb. 25).

TUESDAY – HOME: Edmonton (Nov. 6); Dallas (Nov. 13); Phoenix (Nov. 27); Colorado (Dec. 4); Los Angeles (Dec. 18); Toronto (Jan. 1); Calgary (Jan. 22); Columbus (Feb. 5); Nashville (Mar. 26); Minnesota (Apr. 9). ROAD: Buffalo (Oct. 16); Columbus (Oct. 23); Vancouver (Oct. 30); Phoenix (Jan. 15); Chicago (Feb. 19); Columbus (Apr. 2).

WEDNESDAY – HOME: St. Louis (Nov. 21); Montreal (Jan. 30); Chicago (Feb. 13); Edmonton (Mar. 6); New York Rangers (Mar. 20). ROAD: Carolina (Dec. 26); San Jose (Jan. 9); Anaheim (Feb. 27); Calgary (Mar. 13).

THURSDAY – HOME: New Jersey (Nov. 15); Los Angeles (Nov. 29); Phoenix (Dec. 13); New York Islanders (Dec. 20); Vancouver (Jan. 17). ROAD: St. Louis (Oct. 18); Calgary (Nov. 1); Pittsburgh (Dec. 27); Phoenix (Feb. 7); New Jersey (Feb. 21); San Jose (Feb. 28); Nashville (Mar. 28); Nashville (Apr. 11).

FRIDAY – HOME: Nashville (Oct. 12); San Jose (Oct. 26); Calgary (Nov. 9); Washington (Dec. 7); Nashville (Jan. 4); St. Louis (Feb. 1); Colorado (Feb. 15); Anaheim (Feb. 22); Dallas (Mar. 22); Winnipeg (Apr. 5). ROAD: Florida (Nov. 23); Dallas (Feb. 8); Columbus (Mar. 8); Edmonton (Mar. 15); Dallas (Mar. 29).

SATURDAY – HOME: Minnesota (Nov. 10); San Jose (Dec. 1); Columbus (Dec. 22); Columbus (Mar. 9). ROAD: Chicago (Oct. 20); Winnipeg (Oct. 27); Edmonton (Nov. 3); Minnesota (Nov. 17); Tampa Bay (Nov. 24); Anaheim (Dec. 15); Ottawa (Dec. 29); Los Angeles (Jan. 12); Philadelphia (Feb. 2); Vancouver (Mar. 16); Colorado (Apr. 13).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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