The NHL announced the 2013-14 season schedule Friday, highlighted by the Chicago Blackhawks raising their second Stanley Cup championship banner in four years, the return of outdoor games and the new conference and division alignments.
The Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins will open the season against Tampa Bay at TD Garden on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.
Home highlights for the Bruins include their annual day-after-Thanksgiving matinee on Nov. 29 against the New York Rangers at 1 p.m. and a Stanley Cup Final rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks on March 27 at 7 p.m.
Boston’s longest homestand of the season is five games, from Nov. 5-14, when the Bruins will face Dallas, Florida, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Columbus.
Road highlights include two season-long four-game road trips. The first road swing will see the Bruins travel through Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver from Dec. 8-14. The second four-game trip begins March 27 and runs through April 2 when the B’s head to Washington, Philadelphia, Detroit and Toronto.
The Los Angeles Kings, the parent team of the Manchester Monarchs, make their only Boston visit on Monday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. — Martin Luther King Day.
The NHL regular season opens Oct. 1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs visiting the Montreal Canadiens. The Blackhawks will then raise their championship banner before taking on the visiting Washington Capitals.
The season is the third in a 10-year television deal between the league and NBC.
Six outdoor games will be played starting with the NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 when the Maple Leafs take on Detroit at Michigan Stadium at 12:30 p.m.
Other outdoor games include the Anaheim Ducks vs. the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 (9:30 p.m), the New York Rangers vs. the New Jersey Devils at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 26, (12:30 p.m), the Rangers vs. the New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 29 (7 p.m.), the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago at Soldier Field on March 1 (8 p.m.) and the Ottawa Senators vs. the Vancouver Canucks at BC Place on March 2 at 4 p.m.
The league will break from Feb. 9-25, 2014 for the Olympics as more than 120 players are expected to represent their respective countries in the men’s hockey tourney.
A new divisional alignment takes effect starting this season that ensures that all 30 teams play in all 30 NHL arenas at least once.
In the Eastern Conference, the Atlantic Division includes Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto, and the Metropolitan Division includes Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington.
In the Western Conference, the Central Division includes Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg, and the Pacific Division includes Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver.
Eastern Conference teams will play 30 divisional games, 24 nondivision conference games and 28 nonconference games. Western Conference teams will play 29 divisional games, 21 nondivision conference games and 32 nonconference games.