After having no NHL since last June’s Stanley Cup Finals, the abbreviated 2013 regular season promises to be a complete blur. Better stock up on your Red Bull now to keep up with what should be an insane pace.
Each team will play 48 games in 99 days with the festivities kicking off on Saturday. The regular season closes on April 27, the playoffs begin on April 30 and the Finals can go until as late as June 28.
The most noticeable difference (besides less games, duh) is that teams will only play against their own conference. That means the Bruins play 18 games against rivals in the Northeast Division (five vs. Buffalo and Ottawa; four vs. Toronto and Montreal) then 30 against the rest of the Eastern Conference (three vs. all of them). The B’s open on Saturday night vs. the Rangers (7 p.m.) then host the Jets on Monday afternoon (1 p.m.), Martin Luther King Day. Their first road game is on Jan. 23 at the Rangers.
Boston has a chance to get off to a fast start since five of its seven games in January are at TD Garden. On Jan. 29 they host the Devils, who won the Eastern Conference last season and lost in the Finals to the Kings. February is not so kind to the Black and Gold since eight of their eleven games then will be on the road including a five-game road trip (Feb. 15-26). The first Bruins-Canadiens game is Feb. 6 in Montreal. I think the Habs are already on a power play in that yet to be played contest.
March is the busiest month for the Bruins as they play 17 games – that has to be some sort of team record. Of their seven back-to-backs, four of them occur in March. They host the Canadiens on March 3 then go to DC to face the Capitals on March 5 (the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last spring). They face the Canadiens and Capitals again in March (16 & 27 respectively, both in Boston) along with two games apiece against the Flyers (9, 30) and Penguins (12, 17). There will be no St. Patrick’s Day home game/drunkfest at the Garden this season since Boston plays in Pittsburgh that afternoon.
The NHL trade deadline is on April 3 while Boston plays eight of its 13 games in April at the Garden, including a four-game homestand (April 15-21) which is its longest of the season. The Bruins last game in Montreal is April 6 and their final home game is April 21 against the Panthers. Boston closes out its regular season with two teams that they should be battling for playoff position with: at Philadelphia on April 23 and at Washington on April 27.
Click here for the full schedule