The schedule for the 2013-14 NHL regular season is out and that means Buffalo Sabres fans are going to be busy filling in dates on their calendars over the next few days. Or hours.
Realignment kicks in this upcoming season, meaning that the Sabres will see some new faces in the division. In addition to the Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning will be joining the party. And you can officially call it the Atlantic Division.
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The Sabres will play each divisional opponent at least four times each and the other teams within the conference three times each. They will play each team in the other conference once at home and once on the road.
Keep in mind that the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets have swapped conferences, so there will be one more game against ’Lumbus. The Blue Jackets join the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in the newly formed Metropolitan Division.
But that’s only 80 games. To make up those extra two, Buffalo has five games scheduled against both the Maple Leafs (two at home, three in Toronto) and the Bruins (three at home, two in Boston). Next year, the Sabres will play two different teams in the division an extra time.
BREAKDOWN BY MONTH
October: 15 games
November: 13 games
December: 12 games
January: 14 games
February: 6 games
March: 14 games
April: 8 games
BREAKDOWN BY DAY
Monday: 6 games
Tuesday: 17 games
Wednesday: 6 games
Thursday: 19 games
Friday: 9 games
Saturday: 17 games
Sunday: 8 games
Sets of Back-to-Back Games: 13 (Franchise-Low)
Longest Home Stand: 3 games (Five times)
Longest Stretch of Consecutive Road Games: 5 games (March 18-27)
Wednesday, Oct. 2 at Detroit – Season opener against a new division rival
Friday, Oct. 4 vs. Ottawa – Home opener
Monday, Oct. 14 vs. Minnesota – Former Sabres captain Jason Pominville will be back in town
Monday, Oct. 28 vs. Dallas – A return for another former Sabre, this time Lindy Ruff
Tuesday, Nov. 5-Friday, Nov. 8 – A three-game West Coast swing against the Sharks (Nov. 5), Kings (Nov. 7) and Ducks (Nov. 8)
Friday, Nov. 15-Saturday, Nov. 16 – A home-and-home against the Leafs, starting in Buffalo on Friday
Tuesday, Dec. 10-Thursday, Dec. 12: Two games in three nights against Ottawa, starting Tuesday in Buffalo
Thursday, Dec. 19-Saturday, Dec. 21 – Two games in three nights against the Bruins, starting Thursday in Buffalo
Tuesday, Dec. 31 at Winnipeg: New Year’s Eve game on the road against the Jets
Tuesday, Jan. 14 vs. Philadelphia – The Flyers make their first trip of the season to First Niagara Center
Thursday, Feb. 6 at Ottawa – Last game before Olympic break
Wednesday, Feb. 26 vs. Boston – First game back after Olympic break
Sunday, March 9 vs. Chicago – The Sabres host Pat Kane and the defending Stanley Cup champions
Tuesday, March 18-Thursday, March 27 – Five consecutive road games (at Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal and Nashville)
Sunday, April 13 vs. New York Islanders – Regular season finale
Any other games Sabres fans should be excited about?