Schedule headaches

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

The early November portion of the National Hockey League schedule is akin to overcrowding a dog pound with Dobermans, pit bulls and German Shepherds.

This is when a lot of the eight inter-divisional games are burned off in succession, with 45 games directly involving the Maple Leafs and their four Northeast rivals up to American Thanksgiving.

Toronto began running its gauntlet Saturday in Montreal against the Canadiens, before facing the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins twice and the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal once more. Four of those are on the road.

"Well, we knew the games were not going to get any easier," defenceman Ian White said as he looked ahead.

Montreal could have the toughest test with 11 Northeast games between Saturday and Nov. 27 back in Toronto.

Four games involve Buffalo and six are on the road.

No one wants much to do with the streaking Senators right now, but they have the best home schedule setup, playing host to four of the next five and preparing ton meet the Leafs tomorrow. Boston plays three against Buffalo in this coming stretch.

This will be the last hurrah of such a format as the league moves to cut down on divisional games next year, re-introducing more dates with Western Conference clubs.


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