Highlights of the Stars' 2012 schedule

The Stars unveiled the 2012-2013 schedule Thursday. Let's take a look at some of the highlights:

* The Stars open the season in Phoenix on Oct. 13, followed by a Sunday game the next day in Anaheim against the Ducks. So the Stars get into the Pacific Division schedule right away.

* The home opener is Tuesday, Oct. 16, vs. Phoenix. I'm sure the Stars would rather have the home opener on a weekend, but it will start 30 minutes earlier than normal. Most home weekday games will start at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m., something many fans wanted. Count me among those pleased with this change. That's enough time for fans to get to the game on time after work, and it also gets them home sooner.

* As usual, the schedule is weighted toward the division with 24 games against the Pacific Division (three at home, three away against each team).

* They play the other teams in the Western Conference four times (two at home and two away).

* The rest of the schedule is Eastern Conference teams. Dallas plays 18 games against the East, but the team will skate against three of those teams in both home and away games -- New York Rangers, Washington, Tampa Bay Lightning.

* The Eastern Conference teams coming to AAC: Buffalo, Carolina, Montreal, New Jersey, Rangers, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington and Winnipeg.

* Dallas hosts five weekend matinees, for those of you who want to plan for afternoon hockey:

- Sunday, Nov. 25 vs. Los Angeles (2 p.m.)

- Saturday, Dec. 1 vs. Pittsburgh (1 p.m.)

- Saturday, Jan. 12 vs. Montreal Canadiens (2 p.m.)

- Sunday, Feb. 17 vs. Calgary Flames (5 p.m.)

- Sunday, March 3 vs. New Jersey Devils (2 p.m.)

That Sunday game right after Thanksgiving should be interesting against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

* The Stars play 12 sets of back-to-back games with seven at home and 17 on the road:

- Road game followed by home game next day: 3

- Home game followed by road game next day: 2

- Home game followed by home game next day: 1

- Road game followed by road game next day: 6