What a re-Leaf!

Ottawa Senators Daniel Alfredsson gets bumped by Toronto Maple Leafs Nik Antropov. (Blair Gable/SUN)

Ottawa Senators Daniel Alfredsson gets bumped by Toronto Maple Leafs Nik Antropov. (Blair Gable/SUN)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

The Senators will once again get an early chance to demoralize Leaf Nation.

The NHL released the 2007-08 schedule yesterday and the Senators will open with a traditional home-and-home series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, starting Oct. 3 at Air Canada Centre (on CBC).

The two teams will play an Oct. 4 game at Scotiabank Place in the home opener of the Senators' 15th modern-day NHL season.

The Senators will play 34-of-41 home games between Thursday and Sunday.

"This is a phenomenal schedule. We're really pleased. The best we've gotten," said Senators president Roy Mlakar. "Traditionally, games on Thursday through the weekend are strong for us and this is the most we've ever gotten. We don't have any complaints at all."

The Senators shouldn't have any issues drawing fans. Season-ticket sales surpassed the 12,500 mark during the Stanley Cup final and owner Eugene Melnyk has predicted that every game is going to be sold out.

Other schedule highlights include:

- The Senators will travel West in March to face teams in the Pacific Division. That means fans should circle March 3 on their calendar for a rematch of this year's Stanley Cup final against the Anaheim Ducks.

- Sidney Crosby makes his first visit with Pittsburgh to Scotiabank Place on Nov. 22.

- The Senators will play five afternoon (3 p.m.) home games, all televised by CBC.

- Hockey Day in Canada is going to have four games this year. Unable to hold all-Canadian matchups because of the NHL's unbalanced schedule, the CBC has been forced to make a shift. The Detroit Red Wings will start the tradition by taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the ACC. The Senators will host Montreal at 7 p.m. while the Battle of Alberta between Edmonton and Calgary is going to be one of the highlights of the day. The Colorado Avalanche's visit to Vancouver will be the final game of the day-long celebration.

- Winger Martin Havlat will make his return to Ottawa for the first time since he was dealt to Chicago.

- There is expected to be an outdoor game, The Ice Bowl, on Jan. 1 between the Sabres and Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.

- The NHL season will officially open Sept. 29 and 30 with back-to-back games between the Los Angeles Kings and Ducks in London, England.

- There is one twist. Teams will play their divisional rivals between Nov. 3-22 and March 20-April 6. That should help promote the playoff races in each of the conferences.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Defenceman Alex Goligoski, an all-America standout, agreed to terms with the Penguins, who drafted him 61st overall in 2004. Goligoski, 21, has amassed 98 points in 117 college games ... The Los Angeles Kings re-signed defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky to a five-year extension.


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