The Pittsburgh Penguins begin their 2013-14 regular-season slate with a three-game homestand at CONSOL Energy Center beginning with an opening-night meeting against Metropolitan Division rival New Jersey Devils on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh then plays host to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, Oct. 5 and concludes the homestand on Tuesday, Oct. 8, when Jordan Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes visit.
The team will embark on its first road trip of the season, playing the first of 17 sets of back-to-back games, Oct. 11-12 against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
On Saturday, March 1, the Penguins will play outdoors for the third time in franchise history when they visit the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at historic Soldier Field – home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears – as part of the NHL Stadium Series. The nationally-televised contest will begin at 8 p.m. locally.
Just prior to the outdoor game at Soldier Field, the Penguins have an 18-day break from Feb. 9-25 so that NHL players and coaches can compete at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Pittsburgh’s final game before the break is Friday, Feb. 7 against the NY Rangers, and its first game back is Thursday, Feb. 27 versus Montreal – with both games at CONSOL Energy Center.
This season Penguins fans will have a little wait before welcoming several of the team’s biggest rivals to town. The Philadelphia Flyers invade CONSOL Energy Center for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 13; the New York Rangers make the first of two visits to Pittsburgh on Friday, Jan. 3; and Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals play their first game here on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Fans will have plenty of opportunity to catch the Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center in October, as eight of the team’s 13 games that month will be played at home – including visits from the Edmonton Oilers (Oct. 15) and Vancouver Canucks (Oct. 19) for the first time in four seasons. Pittsburgh ends the month by hosting the Boston Bruins – the team that eliminated the Penguins in last season’s Eastern Conference finals – on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m.
The Penguins will also be home for much of the stretch drive leading up to the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, as 11 of the team’s final 16 regular-season contests will be played at CONSOL Energy Center. That number includes back-to-back home games the final weekend of the season April 12-13 against the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators.
In total, the Penguins will play 82 regular-season games this season – 30 against fellow Metropolitan Division foes; 24 games against teams from the Atlantic Division; and 28 games against teams from the Western Conference.
Pittsburgh will play five games against the Philadelphia Flyers (3 home; 2 away) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2 home; 3 away), and four games (2 home and 2 away) against the other five Metropolitan Division teams.
The Penguins will play three games each against the eight teams in the Atlantic division – either two at home and one away or once at home and twice away. Teams that the Penguins will play twice at home and once away are Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Pittsburgh will play Boston, Detroit, Florida and Tampa Bay just once at home.
For the first time since the 1997-98 season, the Penguins will play each of the 14 Western Conference teams once at home and once on the road.
Pittsburgh’s longest homestand of the season is four games between March 22-27 against Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Phoenix and the Los Angeles Kings. The team has a season-high five-game road trip from March 1-10 that begins with the outdoor game against Chicago and includes visits to Nashville, San Jose, Anaheim and Washington.
The 17 sets of back-to-back games this season feature three home-and-home series against Metropolitan Division foes Columbus (Nov. 1-2), Washington (March 10-11) and Philadelphia (March 15-16).
Other schedule notables include:
Visits from the previous two Stanley Cup champions – the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings – during a four-day stretch in late March. Los Angeles, the 2012 Cup champion, visits on Thursday, March 27, and the reigning-champion Blackhawks play here on Sunday, March 30.
The New York Islanders, who played the Penguins tough in a first-round playoff series in April, visit on Friday, Oct. 25. Pittsburgh welcomes the Ottawa Senators – the team’s second-round opponent last season – on Monday, Feb. 3. The Penguins and Senators play their first meeting at Canadian Tire Centre on Monday, Dec. 23.
Penguins fans will get their first look at the Edmonton Oilers trio of high-flying former first-round draft picks from 2010-12 – Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov – on Tuesday, Oct. 15. All three players will be playing in Pittsburgh for the first time in their careers.
In addition to Edmonton and Vancouver, other Western Conference teams visiting Pittsburgh for the first time since the 2010-11 season include the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks. All other Western Conference teams will be playing here for the first time since the ’11-12 campaign.
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