NEW YORK - The NHL revealed its 2011-12 schedule on Tuesday and will begin its slate of 1,230 regular-season games with three contests on Thursday, October 6.
The Boston Bruins will raise their Stanley Cup banner on opening night as they will face the Philadelphia Flyers. Boston recently won its sixth Stanley Cup in franchise history in seven games over the Vancouver Canucks.
Also on opening night, a pair of Original Six rivals will meet in Toronto as the Canadiens and Maple Leafs will play at the Air Canada Centre while Pittsburgh travels across the continent to face the Western Conference champion Canucks in Vancouver.
The next day will see play on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean as for the fifth straight season the NHL will have games in Europe. The Anaheim Ducks and Buffalo Sabres will play in Helsinki, Finland on October 7 while the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings meet in Stockholm, Sweden. The next day will see the Rangers and Ducks play in Stockholm while the Sabres and Kings will play in Berlin, Germany, marking the first time the NHL will play a game in that country.
The NHL is returning to Winnipeg for the first time since 1996 as the Atlanta franchise was purchased and moved to the capital of Manitoba. The franchise, which has yet to acquire a team name, will have its first game and home opener on October 9 against Montreal.
The Coyotes, who moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg following the 1995-96 season, will return to the city they fled twice with the first meeting taking place on December 1.
The New York Rangers have the toughest start to the season as they will play their first seven games on the road due to renovations being made on their home, Madison Square Garden. They will play their first two games in Europe then one on Long Island against the Islanders before embarking on a four-game road trip through Western Canada. Their first home game won't be until October 27 when they will host the Maple Leafs.
The NHL Winter Classic will be played for a fifth season, but not on New Year's Day. The game will feature a pair of Atlantic Division rivals playing in Philadelphia as the Rangers will be the guest of the Flyers at Citizens Bank Park, home of baseball's Philadelphia Phillies. However, since New Year's Day falls on the final Sunday of the NFL season, the hockey game will take place on January 2.
The All-Star Game will be played in Ottawa as the All-Star break will take place from January 26-30 with the game taking place on January 29 in the capital of Canada.
The final day of the regular season is April 7 with all 30 teams playing and the Stanley Cup playoffs are scheduled to start three days later.