(File photo John Kenney: Goalmouth scramble during Canadiens’ season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013)
For only the third time in 14 seasons, the Canadiens will open their season at home. Less unusual is who the Habs will play against in their season opener on Oct. 1 at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens square off against the Toronto Maple Leafs as they have for the past four years. The Leafs won three of those games and also have an edge historically in the 14 times the division rivals have met in season openers between 1921-22 and January 2013. (The Habs won five of those match-ups.)
More than one-third of the Canadiens’ 82 games are against the seven other teams in the new Atlantic Division, part of the National Hockey League’s realignment, which takes effect in the 2013-14 season. The Habs’ former Northeast division rivals–the Leafs, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators–are part of the new division as well as the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Detroit Red Wings who have joined the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens’ schedule also features more than a two-week gap between games in February because of NHL players’ participation in the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
You can read more about the Canadiens’ schedule for the upcoming season by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey here.
And you can read more about the NHL’s realignment and new division names here.