The Buffalo Sabres have announced that the team’s 39th season of operation will begin on Friday, October 10 when the Montreal Canadiens visit HSBC Arena.
This will be the seventh time the Sabres have faced the Canadiens in their home opener in franchise history. The team is 4-1-1 all-time in those contests, with the only loss coming in the first ever regular season game in franchise history on October 15, 1970 (3-0 loss).
This season, the NHL has revised its scheduling format. Each team will continue to play an 82-game schedule, but the breakdown of opponents has changed. Each team will play their divisional opponents six times (24 games in total), four games against each non-divisional conference opponent (40 games in total), one game against each of the 15 non-conference opponents and three “at large” games.
Two of the Sabres home “at large” games will be against the past two Stanley Cup Champions. The Sabres will battle the defending champion Detroit Red Wings on Monday, April 6. The 2006-07 champion Anaheim Ducks will head into HSBC Arena on Tuesday, February 24. The remaining “at large” game will see the return of Head Coach Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes in Buffalo on Friday March 6.
The National Hockey League will announce the 2008-2009 regular season schedule at noon on Thursday, July 17.