The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced their schedule for the 2013-2014 NHL Season. This will be the first season for the Leafs in the new NHL alignment. Under the new alignment, the Leafs remain in the Eastern Conference, but will play in the new ‘Atlantic Division.’ The other four teams that played in the Northeast Division with the Leafs, the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottawa Senators, will be joined by the Detroit Red Wings (who along with the Columbus Blue Jackets moved to the Eastern Conference), the Florida Panthers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The new schedule includes two games (one home game and one away game) against each of the 14 teams in the Western Conference (28 games), three games against each of the eight teams in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference (24 games), five games against the Buffalo Sabres and the Montreal Canadiens (10 games) and four games against each of the remaining divisional teams (20 games.)
The 2013-2014 season includes the Winter Classic Game on January 1st 2014 in Detroit against the Red Wings. This game was originally scheduled to take place on January 1st of this year, but was cancelled due to the lockout last season.
The Maple Leafs play five games against their arch rivals the Montreal Canadiens but also the Buffalo Sabres. I do question why they only play four games against the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings. The Senators make the obvious choice over the Sabres for a fifth game against the Leafs – it is the ‘Battle of Ontario’ and a big draw for both teams. The Leafs have had a good rivalry with the Red Wings in the past as well, but have not had the same level of intensity with the Sabres.
The Leafs will play 23 games on Saturday night – always a good draw for the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada programme, with 15 of those games being at home. Tuesday nights are the next busiest night with 18 games scheduled on a Tuesday with 10 of them being at home.
The season opens October 1st in Montreal, and the home opener takes place five nights later against the Senators. There will be a break from February 9th to 25th for the Sochi Winter Olympics. The last game of the season is April 12th against the Senators in Ottawa.
Let’s just hope this season is the year the Maple Leafs once again hoist the Stanley Cup. And let’s GO LEAFS GO!!!