The Detroit Red Wings will open their 2013-14 schedule by hosting the Buffalo Sabres on October 2, it was revealed as the National Hockey League announced its schedule for the coming season on Friday.
It will be the first of four matchups between the Detroit and Buffalo, who are now divisional rivals as the Red Wings move to the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division, a group made up of the former Northeast Division plus Detroit, Tampa Bay and Florida.
The remaining teams of the Eastern Conference, a division mostly made up of the former Atlantic Division, will be called the Metropolitan Division.
The crown jewel of the Red Wings’ schedule is the January 1, 2014, Winter Classic, in which Detroit will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium.
Detroit will first host the Ottawa Senators, former team of free-agent signing Daniel Alfredsson, on October 23. The Senators will host their former captain on December 1.
Stephen Weiss will meet his former team on December 7 and December 10 in a home-and-home with the Florida Panthers. Immediately after that will be the Red Wings’ first visit to Valtteri Filppula and the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Filppula’s return to Detroit set for December 15.
With the move to the Eastern Conference, the Red Wings will play only four games at 10:00 PM Eastern or later. Only two of those fall on a weeknight. On the flip side, however, they will visit Boston for a Monday afternoon game on October 14 (Columbus Day).
With the NHL’s participation in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, there will be seventeen consecutive days without Red Wings hockey in February. To make up for the gap, the team will play on consecutive nights thirteen times. Only one of those sets will involve two games in the same location, as the Wings host the Colorado Avalanche and then the New Jersey Devils on March 6 and 7.
In addition to the series with Florida in December, the Red Wings will have a home-and-home with the Minnesota Wild on March 22 and 23.
The Red Wings will first visit former Central Division rival Chicago on March 16, Columbus (also making the jump to the Eastern Conference) on March 11 and Nashville on December 30. They close the season with a visit to the Central’s St. Louis Blues on April 13.