Leafs announce pre-season tilts

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:59 AM ET

Pre-season contests can be hit and miss in quality depending on who is in the lineup, but the Maple Leafs are sure to hit some star power when they face both Stanley Cup finalists twice in September.

The complete schedule will be released next week, but it is known that the Leafs will have home-and-home dates with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

The Leafs will be in Pittsburgh on Sept. 18, the first time the Pens will play at the Mellon Arena since their Stanley Cup title. The Pens return date at the Air Canada Centre is on Sept. 22.

As for the Wings, the Leafs are at Detroit on Sept. 25 and host the Western Conference champs at the Air Canada Centre the following night.

The Leafs open their pre-season schedule on Sept. 16 at home against the Boston Bruins. That contest will be the team's second annual "free" game in which tickets will be distributed to fans through a variety of sources.

The NHL is expected to release the entire regular-season schedule next week and the Leafs are tentatively scheduled to open up at home against their rival Montreal Canadiens on either Oct. 1 or 2. The NHL season starts earlier this year because of the break for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.


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