The Buffalo Sabres announced the team’s schedule for the 2012-13 regular season – so its time to mark your calendars! The Sabres will play on consecutive nights a franchise-low 11 times in 2012-13 after leading the league in back-to-back sets during each of the last two seasons.
“Terry Pegula tasked us with getting the best possible schedule for our players, regardless of whether it meant sacrificing prime home weekend dates, as such, our schedule-making requests and decisions this year were driven by a ‘Hockey First’ philosophy that sought to reduce back-to-back situations and maximize the amount of recovery time between games.” – Sabres President Ted Black.
For 41 seasons, the Sabres have averaged 20 back-to-back sets per year. Since the 2005-06 season, they have played the most in the league. Of the 11 back-to-back sets in 2012-13, only five will take place after Jan. 1st, four fewer than during the same period last season.
Buffalo will open the season at home on Saturday, Oct. 13 vs. Pittsburgh and will wrap up their schedule at home as well, with Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, Apr. 13th vs. Boston.
The Sabres will play only five Friday night games at First Niagara Center in 2012-13. This total is six fewer than last year’s 11 and seven fewer than the 12 Friday night home games the team has averaged since 2005-06. Also changing from previous years is the team’s preferred start time for home games, which will now be 7 p.m. on all weekdays, including Friday.
The team will also play more Sunday games than usual this season, with nine Sunday dates on the schedule, including four at First Niagara Center, after playing a 2011-12 schedule that included only one Sunday game.
The Sunday home schedule includes a “Tailgate and Hockey” game on the Sunday of the Buffalo Bills’ bye week (Oct. 28th vs. Philadelphia, 5 p.m.), a home game on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3rd vs. St. Louis, 3:30 p.m.) and a Feb. 10th match up with the Ottawa Senators at 5 p.m. The Buffalo Sabres will once again participate in Hockey Day in America on February 17th against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m.
After playing seven of their first 10 games at First Niagara Center, the Sabres will hit the road for four games in the span of six days, tying for their longest road trip of the season. The trip will begin on Nov. 6th in Philadelphia, continuing through San Jose (Nov. 8th) and Phoenix (Nov. 10th) before wrapping up in Anaheim on Nov. 11. The 2012-13 season will be the first time the Sabres haven’t played five or more consecutive road games in a season since 2001-02.
The Sabres will play six home-and-home series in 2012-13, with opponents including New Jersey (Oct. 24th and 26th), Philadelphia (Nov. 16th and 17th), Montreal (Dec. 6th and 8th, Dec. 15th and 17th), Boston (Feb. 6th and 8th) and Ottawa (Feb. 10th and 12th).
Other schedule highlights include a visit from the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 5th and the return of “Tux and Pucks” on Dec. 31st vs. Ottawa at 5 p.m.
You can download the full schedule here.