The Chicago Blackhawks released their 2013-2014 schedule on Friday. Here's what you need to know:
The Blackhawks' home opener and Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony will be against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 1. The Blackhawks lost their home opener in the 2010-2011 season to the Detroit Red Wings after winning the Stanley Cup the previous season. Four of the past five Stanley Cup champions have lost their home opener the following season. Just last season, the Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 in the Kings' season opener after they won the Stanley Cup.
With the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference this season, the Blackhawks will now face them just twice in the regular season. They'll play in Detroit on Jan. 22 and in Chicago on March 16. They will also play two preseason games.
The Blackhawks' final game before the Olympic break will be on the road against the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb. 7. Their first game back will be on the road against the New York Rangers on Feb. 27. Among the possible Blackhawks Olympic players are Corey Crawford (Canada), Niklas Hjalmarsson (Sweden), Marian Hossa (Slovakia), Patrick Kane (USA), Duncan Keith (Canada), Marcus Kruger (Sweden), Johnny Oduya (Sweden), Brent Seabrook (Canada), Patrick Sharp (Canada) and Jonathan Toews (Canada).
A rematch of last season's Stanley Cup finals between the Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins will occur on Jan. 19 in Chicago and March 27 in Boston. The Blackhawks defeated the Bruins in six games in June.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are favored to win the Stanley Cup this season, according to odds-maker Bovada. The Penguins have 13-2 odds to win the Cup and the Blackhawks are second at 7-1. The two teams will meet in Chicago at Soldier Field on March 1 and in Pittsburgh on March 30. They’ll also play two preseason games.
The Blackhawks will play 29 Central Division games. They will play the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues five times and the Winnipeg Jets four times.
The Blackhawks will play 18 sets of back-to-back games.
The Blackhawks will have two seven-game road trips. The first one will be from Nov. 19-29 with games at the Avalanche (Nov. 19), Jets (Nov. 21), Vancouver Canucks (Nov. 23), Edmonton Oilers (Nov. 25), Calgary Flames (Nov. 27), Stars (Nov. 29) and Phoenix Coyotes (Nov. 30). The second road trip is broken up because of the Olympics. They will play at the Flames (Jan. 28), Canucks (Jan. 29), San Jose Sharks (Feb. 1), Kings (Feb. 3), Anaheim Ducks (Feb. 5), Coyotes (Feb. 7) and Rangers (Feb. 27). The Blackhawks won't have a home game in February.
The Blackhawks' longest home stand will be four games, which will occur twice. They'll have a four-game home stand from Jan. 12-19 and March 19-25.
The Blackhawks will close the regular season with back-to-back road games. They will play at the Capitals on April 11 and at the Predators on April 12.
The Blackhawks will play six preseason games. They'll play at home against the Red Wings on Sept. 17, the Penguins on Sept. 19 and Capitals on Sept. 28 and on the road against the Capitals on Sept. 20, Red Wings on Sept. 22 and Penguins on Sept. 23.