What!! Two FEWER games against the Sabres next season?
The league release:
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors today approved a scheduling matrix which ensures that each Club will play every other Club a minimum of once per season. The format will go into effect for the 2008-2009 season.
Each Club will play the teams in its division three times at home and three times on the road, for a total of 24 games. Each Club will continue to play 40 games inside its conference but outside its division (10 opponents) twice at home and twice on the road. That brings the in-conference total to 64 games and maintains the integrity of a Conference-based playoff system.
The remaining 18 games in the 82-game schedule will involve each Club playing each Club in the other conference at least once, home or away, with the three remaining games being devoted to interconference “at-large” scheduling.
The format represents a change from the matrix approved by the Board for the 2005-06 campaign. That format called for four games (40 total) against each non-division conference opponent, eight games (32 total) against each in-division opponent and 10 inter-conference games – one game at home against each of the five clubs from a designated division and one game on the road against all five clubs from a different division.