Today was a mid-year Christmas for most NHL fans. All 30 NHL teams released their schedules today, giving fans the opportunity to salivate over potential matchups and plan out what night they’re going to see their team.
The Devils will open their season October 8 at home against the Dallas Stars. It’s a bit of an interesting decision, matching a Western Conference opponent against an Eastern Conference opponent. I’d much rather see the team open against a division rival, or at least an Eastern Conference opponent. But those are the breaks. It’ll be the first game with John MacLean as the head coach, and Jason Arnott will re-introduce himself to Devils fans.
The Devils opening weekend continues October 9 against Ovie and the Washington Capitals in Washington.
The Devils longest homestand of the season will be four games, beginning on Dec. 23 against the Islanders. They then play the Maple Leafs (Dec. 26) and the Rangers (Dec. 29) before finishing on New Years Eve against the Thrashers.
The Devils longest road trip is six games, beginning against the Rangers on Oct. 24. The team then heads west, facing off against the Sharks (Oct. 27), Ducks (Oct. 29), Kings (Oct. 30) and the Canucks (Nov. 1). The trip concludes with a trip to face the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 3.
The Devils will not play a St. Patrick’s Day game at home this season. General manager Lou Lamoriello and principal owner Jeff Vanderbeek wanted to rotate in the infamous Devils’ retro jerseys, and this past season allowed them to make it holiday-appropriate. The two want the Devils to go retro once a season, but without a St. Patrick’s Day game, the team will have to find another game to wear it.
Here are some other schedule highlights:
Monday, October 11, 2010 – Penguins vs. Devils (1 p.m.)
In one of three afternoon games the Devils will play in 2010 – 2011, they face-off in a Columbus Day matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Devils swept the season series against the former champs, helping propel the Devils to yet another Atlantic Division title. Many of these games were close last season, so I’d expect much of the same this season as well.
Sunday, October 24, 2010 – Devils vs. Rangers (7 p.m.)
The Devils and Rangers tied their season series, 3-3, and will renew their bad blood on a Sunday night. It’s always a fun time when these two get together, and I’m sure their first meeting of the season will be nothing new. Expect physical play and a low-scoring game.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 – Flames vs. Devils (7:30 p.m.)
The Devils welcome back ex-coach Brent Sutter to the Rock in their game Nov. 24. Sutter left the Devils after the 2008-2009 season, citing his desire to be closer to his family. Shortly after, he took the open coaching position with the Flames. On March 6, Calgary defeated the Devils, 5-3, at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary.
Saturday, November 27, 2010 – Flyers at Devils (1 p.m.)
The Flyers and the Devils face off for the first time on Nov. 27. Last year, the Flyers won five of six regular season games against the Devils. Then the playoffs happened and, well…there’s no reason to bring up the past. Hopefully the Devils can beat the Flyers a few more times this season.
So that’s my take on the Devils 2010-2011 schedule. For a full schedule, click here.