Breaking Down the 48-Game Schedule
With the release of the Carolina Hurricanes’ shortened 2012-13 schedule, here is a quick look at some of the highlights.
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The Hurricanes will open the season on Saturday, Jan. 19 on the road in Florida, where their division rivals will raise a Southeast Division Champions banner. The Canes will return home to face the Lightning and Sabres on the following Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. There are some fantastic promotions lined up for opening night and the first week of home games, so make plans today.
Keeping it in the East
With the schedule trimmed down to just over half of its original length, Western Conference opponents have been eliminated. Winnipeg marks the westernmost destination for the Hurricanes, as the Jets remain in the geographically awkward Southeast Division for at least this season. The Canes will face the 10 teams from the Northeast and Atlantic divisions three times a piece. Of those 10 teams, the Hurricanes will play five twice at home and once on the road: Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, NY Rangers and Pittsburgh. The other five teams (Montreal, NY Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Toronto) will host Carolina twice and visit Raleigh once.
With the exclusion of Western Conference opponents also comes beneficial start times; the vast majority of the team’s games will begin at 7:00 p.m., with the latest start time being just an hour later. The Canes will play two matinee games (a 1:00 p.m. start in Philadelphia on Saturday, Feb. 9 and a 3:00 p.m. EST start in Winnipeg on Saturday, March 30) and two early-evening games (a 6:00 p.m. local puck-drop in Florida on Sunday, March 3 and a 6:00 p.m. start time in Tampa Bay on Sunday, April 21).
Uneven Divisional Play
With a truncated schedule also comes uneven divisional play. Rather than playing each of the other four teams in the Southeast Division six times (three at home and three on the road), the Canes will face Tampa Bay and Washington five times and Florida and Winnipeg four times. In 2011-12, the Hurricanes saw the most success against Tampa Bay and Washington at 6-4-2 (14 points) in the season series; Carolina was 3-6-3 (9 points) against Florida and Winnipeg.
Circus Road Trip
The State Fair usually forces the Hurricanes to take their longest road trip of the season in mid-October. In this upcoming abridged season, the Canes’ lengthiest period away from the Triangle will occur in early February when the circus is in town. Between Saturday, Feb. 2 and Tuesday, Feb. 12, Carolina will play six straight road games, including two in Philadelphia.
Staal and Semin vs. Old Teams
Jordan Staal will make just one trip to Pittsburgh, and that won’t happen until the last game of the season on Saturday, April 27. Brandon Sutter and the Penguins will first visit Raleigh on Thursday, Feb. 28 and again on Tuesday, April 9.
Alexander Semin’s first journey back to Washington is slated for Tuesday, Feb. 26. He and the Canes make two additional trips back to the nation’s capitol in March and April, respectively.
Odds and Ends
From the first week in February through the last week of the season, the Canes play on every Thursday, a total of 12 straight Thursday games. Eight of those 12 games are at home, including six straight Thursday home games between Feb. 14 and March 21. … The original 2012-13 schedule had the Canes playing in 14 back-to-back sets. In this shortened season, the Canes have nine back-to-back match-ups, two of which are home-and-home series and all of which involve travel. … The Hurricanes will not play on a Wednesday in the 2012-13 season. … The Canes will play four games on Sundays, all on the road. The original 2012-13 schedule had the team playing nine Sunday games, including six at PNC Arena. … It seems Friday is an unpopular day for games, as the Canes will play just twice on the final day of the traditional workweek: in Buffalo on Jan. 25 and versus Ottawa on Feb. 1.