The New Jersey Devils and the NHL today released the team’s 2016-17 regular season schedule. Let’s get right to breaking it down, shall we?
The season kicks off right where last season ended. The Devils open 2016-17 in Florida to take on the Panthers on Thursday, October 13. This will be their second consecutive game against the Panthers, as they also close the preseason against them in West Point for an exhibition game at the US Military Academy’s Tate Rink.
The team moves from Sunrise to Tampa to take on the Lightning on Saturday, October 15 before returning to Newark for the home opener on October 18 against the Ducks.
The Devils do not have a divisional game in the month of October: they play the Panthers (Atlantic Division), Lightning (Atlantic), Ducks (Pacific), Bruins (Atlantic), Wild (Central), Coyotes (Pacific), Blackhawks (Central) and Lightning (Atlantic) that month.
It’s déjà vu all over again as they kick off November at Florida and Tampa on November 3 and 5, respectively.
The Devils finally play their first Metropolitan Division foe on Sunday, November 6 when they head to Raleigh to take on the Hurricanes. That is the first part of a home-and-home with Carolina, as the ‘Canes come to town on November 8.
The Devils actually play back-to-back home-and-homes. After they are done with the Hurricanes, they travel to Buffalo for a game with the Sabres on November 11, then return home to play the Sabres on November 12.
From there, they take off on a Western swing from November 15 to November 21 that takes them to Dallas, Anaheim, Los Angeles and their first meeting of the season with the Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks.
They return home to play the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings and the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Penguins at the Rock from November 23 to 26. They round out November with another trip out west, this time to Winnipeg.
That Western trip will continue into December as the team starts the month in Chicago and Nashville on December 1 and 3.
December is an interesting month, as the Devils are home on December 6 against Vancouver and then immediately on the road on December 8 for a trip to Montreal, only to return home the next night to take on St. Louis.
Then, on Sunday, December 11, it’s the first meeting of the season between the Devils and Rangers at Madison Square Garden. After that, the Devils continue on the road, traveling to St. Louis and Ottawa only to end up back in Manhattan a week later to take on the Rangers at MSG again on December 18.
On December 20, they face the Predators at home and then wrap up a quick homestand with the Flyers first trip into Newark this season. It is then yet another home-and-home, this time on December 23 and 27 against the Stanley Cup champs, the Pittsburgh Penguins. That is followed by one more home and home on December 29 and 31 against the Washington Capitals. That is a fair amount of home-and-home series early on in the year. And all doubled up like that is really strange.
Moving into January 2017, the Devils first game of the New Year is on January 2 at home against the Bruins. They hit the road the next night for a game at Carolina.
There is then a quick three game homestand against Toronto, Edmonton and Florida from January 6 to 9 before the team heads west again. This trip lasts from January 12 to 17 and takes them to Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Minnesota.
They return home again briefly on January 20 against the Habs before setting out to Philly the next night. Returning home from there, they play the Kings and the Capitals and then finish off the month at Detroit.
February is a home-heavy month (only two games on the road). They will take on the Flames, Sabres, Sharks, Avalanche, Senators, Islanders (in one half on another hom-and-home), Senators again, Rangers and Canadiens at home. They will only travel to Columbus on February 4 and the Islanders on February 19 (the back end of the home-and-home with New York).
Going into March, the Devils have two on the road on March 2 (at Washington) and March 4 (at Boston). Then their second to last home-and-home, this time on March 5 and 7 against the Blue Jackets.
The Devils then make their last Western trip, a quick one out to Colorado on March 9 and Arizona on March 11.
Next, it’s home for the Jets on March 14 and the Flyers on March 16. St. Patrick’s Day will take them to Pittsburgh before they return home for one against the Blue Jackets and one against the Rangers.
They then travel to Toronto, heading home after that to take on the Hurricanes and the Stars. They finish out March in Brooklyn taking on the Islanders.
April will hopefully see the Devils still in the playoff hunt as they begin the month with an April Fools Day tilt at the Flyers. This starts the final home-and-home of the year, as they return home to take on Philly at Prudential Center on April 4.
The home stretch sees two home games, against the Pens and the Isles, and then, on April 9, 2017, the Devils will play the final regular season game at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena against the Red Wings. This should be an emotional game for someone like captain Andy Greene, who grew up a Wings fan in Detroit. The Red Wings are scheduled to open up the Little Caesar’s Arena in 2017-18.
Overall a good schedule. There are a lot of home-and-homes and a good amount of back-to-back games, but nothing the Devils have not seen in recent years. A few scheduling quirks to it, but every year has those.
Here’s looking forward to the 2016-17 NHL season!