The NHL released their schedule today, and for the Flyers, well, let’s just say the travel will be a bear.
It starts at home and ends at home, but everything in between is a frequent flyer’s Utopia.
The Flyers will have five road trips of three games or more (two of them six games in length) and will play 14 sets of games on back-to-back nights. The number of times they have to travel in those 14 instances?
Try all 14.
Sure they get the same number of home games as road games, but there are only three home stands of three games or longer built into the schedule – and one of them sandwiches the Olympic break in February.
The Flyers also have five sets of “home-and-home” series’ with divisional opponents where they play back-to-back games against the same teams.
Because of the Olympic hiatus, teams are not getting much in the way of time off during the season. Looking at the schedule, the Flyers only have four instances in their schedule when they get more than two days off in a row.
Let’s break it all down, shall we?
The season opens Wednesday, Oct. 2 at the Wells Fargo Center against the Toronto Maple Leafs. While the television schedule has yet to be released, it’s a safe bet that this game will be part of “Rivalry Night” in the NHL, highlighting intriguing matchups around the league in a national manner on NBC SportsNet.
For the record, the Flyers have seven Wednesday night games scheduled and each of them begin at either 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. Eastern, suggesting they are national games.
After the opener the Flyers have an early season reunion with Danny Briere in Montreal on Saturday Oct. 5, their first road game of the season.
The Flyers fans won’t get to see Briere back at the Wells Fargo Center though until Dec. 12, the first of two visits by the Canadiens. The other is Jan. 8.
Following the game in Montreal on Oct. 5, the Flyers will meet new division rival Carolina for the first time Sunday, Oct. 6, the first of those 14 sets of games on back-to-back nights.
The first of five matchups with the hated Pittsburgh Penguins comes Oct. 17 at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers will only host the Penguins twice and will play in Pittsburgh three times. The other home date against Sidney Crosby and Co. will be March 15.
Another hated rival, the New York Rangers, come to Philly for the first time Oct. 24, the first of four meetings between the clubs.
In the new divisional alignment, the Flyers play two division opponents five times each (Pittsburgh and Washington) and the other five divisional opponents four times each. Those teams rotate each season.
The Washington Capitals are back in the Flyers division, which should only re-fuel the once bitter rivalry between the franchises. Hart Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin and company meet the Flyers for the first time Nov. 1 at the Wells Fargo Center.
The other new team in the division is the Columbus Blue Jackets, who will come to Philadelphia for the first time Dec. 19 with Vezina Trophy winner and former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky in net.
As for the road trips, the Flyers will be spending time on their charter plane in bunches this season.
Their five trips encompassing three games or more are as follows:
From November 12-15 they will visit Ottawa, Pittsburgh and make their lone trip to Winnipeg.
From Nov. 30-Dec. 11 they will be all over the map going from Nashville to Minnesota to Detroit to Dallas to Ottawa and back to Chicago for their first matchup with the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks.
That trip would have been longer had not the Flyers needed to host their annual Black Friday afternoon game Nov. 29 against Winnipeg just before it begins.
Chicago will make their one trip to Philadelphia on March 18.
From Dec. 28-Jan. 7, the Flyers will hit the road as Disney on Ice makes it’s annual visit to the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers will play in Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary (New Year’s Eve), Colorado, Phoenix and finish the trip in New Jersey.
From Jan. 30-Feb. 3 the Flyers will make their one trip to California, playing Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
The final three road games of the season come in succession with visits to Florida, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh from Apr. 8-12.
The other Florida trip, for those fans who like to head South during the chillier months, is early this season, as the Flyers will be down south Nov. 25-27.
The Flyers will play all of their Eastern Conference opponents at least once prior to the New Year with the exception of the defending Conference Champion Boston Bruins.
Philly and Boston won’t renew pleasantries until Jan. 25 at the Wells Fargo Center, the first of three meeting in the final 30 games of the season.
In a bit of an oddity, the Flyers will only play four of their final 15 games against Division opponents. As a matter of fact, 11 of the final 28 games are against Western Conference foes.
The Los Angeles Kings, which have so many ties to the Flyers, are part of that stretch twice, making their one visit to Philadelphia March 24. That will be the final game of the Flyers longest homestand of the season – four games. The previous three are against Chicago, Dallas (March 20) and St. Louis (March 22).
The other two “homestands” the Flyers will have are a bit disjointed. A three-gamer in October (Vancouver Oct. 15, Pittsburgh and the Rangers as mentioned previously) are split up by a one week break.
A four-gamer later in the year has two games on either side of the Olympic stoppage.
Aside from that one week break in mid-October, the only other times the Flyers have more than two days off consecutively (not including the Olympics) are Nov. 16-18, Dec. 24-27 (Christmas Holiday) and March 12-14.
The Flyers play four of their last six games on the road, but wrap up the season at home Apr. 13 against Carolina.
It is the second season in a row the Flyers finish up against the Hurricanes. Last season, the final game was in Raleigh.
The Television schedule and the promotional schedule will be released at a later date.
The Flyers will play seven preseason games, three of which will be at Wells Fargo Center – Sept. 16 vs. Washington, Sept. 17 vs. the Rangers and Sept. 24 vs. New Jersey.
They will play their annual preseason game in London, Ontario against Toronto Sept. 15. They will also play a game in Toronto Sept. 16, a game in New Jersey Sept. 26 and finish up the preseason Sept. 27 in Washington.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37
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