With the release of the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2013-14 schedule, here is a quick look at some of the highlights.
Ushering in a New Era
The Hurricanes will open the season on Friday, Oct. 4 by hosting the Detroit Red Wings, now an Eastern Conference opponent. It will mark the Wings’ first visit to Raleigh since April 6, 2011, and under realignment, it will be a visit made at least once each season.
Opening weekend continues on Oct. 6 with a Sunday evening matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers, a new Metropolitan Division opponent.
The Hurricanes will sneak in three additional home games – two against the most recent Stanley Cup Champions in Chicago (Oct. 15) and Los Angeles (Oct. 11) – before shipping out for a light and spacious four-game State Fair road trip taking them through Toronto, New York, Minnesota and Colorado over a nine-day stretch.
New Year’s Eve Game Returns (Again)
Carolina will face the Montreal Canadiens at 7 p.m. at PNC Arena on Dec. 31, marking the first time since 2009 that the Hurricanes have hosted a New Year’s Eve game. (Note: The original 82-game 2012-13 schedule had the same game planned, but it was wiped out due to the work stoppage.) Since 2004, the team is 2-3 in New Year’s Eve games, and on Dec. 31, 2005, the Canes topped the Canadiens 5-3.
The NHL will take a two-week break in the latter half of February so that players can participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The result of the extended break is that the Hurricanes will play just four games in February, the first three of which are at home. After the Canes host the Habs on Feb. 8, nearly a month will pass on the calendar before the March 7 home game versus the New York Rangers.
The home stretch of the season unofficially begins after the Olympic break, and the Hurricanes will spend the majority of the last seven weeks of the season on the road. The Canes will play 15 of their last 24 games away from PNC Arena, including a four-game road swing immediately following the Olympic break.
Variety in Opponents
A once-over of this season’s schedule immediately reveals a positive impact of realignment. In October alone, the Hurricanes host Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago and Pittsburgh; under the league’s old schedule matrix, half of those teams might not have even flown over the state of North Carolina. Now, for the first time in PNC Arena history, the Canes will host every team in the league at least once each season.
Odds and Ends
In somewhat of a scheduling quirk, the Hurricanes play just once on a Wednesday throughout the entire season, a Thanksgiving Eve tilt in New Jersey on Nov. 27. … The 2013-14 schedule features 20 back-to-back sets for the Hurricanes, one game shy of the team’s franchise record set last in 2010-11. Not unusually, all but two involve travel; Carolina will play host to Florida and Tampa Bay on Jan. 18 and 19 and will face Florida and Montreal at home on consecutive nights in early February. … The Hurricanes have 10 Sunday games, seven of which will be played at PNC Arena; two are at 1:00 p.m., one is at 3:00 p.m., three are at 5:00 p.m. and the remaining one is a 7:00 p.m. start time. … March is the Canes’ busiest month, as they will play six games at home and 10 on the road for a total of 16 games in 31 days. … The longest road trip for the Hurricanes is just four games, found thrice on the schedule: in mid-October, early December and early March. … The longest home stand for the Canes is five games, found in the home-heavy month of November (nine of 14 games in Raleigh).
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