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Sens welcome champs in home-opener

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
No sense putting off a chance to take on the champs.

When the Ottawa Senators make their first appearance of the 2008-09 season at Scotiabank Place, they'll be rolling out the red carpet for the Stanley Cup champions as well. The Detroit Red Wings make their only appearance of the season in the capital on Oct. 11, a game that will also serve as the Senators' official home-opener for the new season.

Of course, Ottawa will already have two games in the bank by then. In a franchise first, the Senators are set to head overseas to Stockholm and face the Pittsburgh Penguins in a matchup of the past two Eastern Conference champions. The Sens and Pens open their respective seasons against each other Oct. 4 and 5 in the Swedish capital.

For the first time in five years, the Senators' schedule includes home-and-home series against all five Canadian opponents. The Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are back on the slate after a one-year absence. All three Western Canadian teams last played at Scotiabank Place in the 2006-07 season, while the Senators only faced that trio on the road in 2005-06.

The National Hockey League will release its complete 2008-09 schedule on Thursday.

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