Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and goalie Matt Murray raises the Stanley Cup over their heads following the parade celebrating the back to back Stanley Cup Championship in Pittsburgh. The Penguins begin defense of their title Oct. 4. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
After being one of the last two teams on the ice in the Stanley Cup Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be one of the first to take it when the NHL begins the 2017-18 season.
The NHL unveiled the 1,271-game regular-season schedule on Thursday. The regular season will conclude on April 7, 2018.
The Penguins will raise the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters at PPG Paints Arena on Oct. 4 prior to their season-opening game against the visiting St. Louis Blues. Two-time reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Sidney Crosby led the Penguins to series victories over the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators before a six-game triumph over the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final.
That contest is just one of four on opening night. The Toronto Maple Leafs will visit the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will tangle in the latest installment of the "Battle of Alberta" and the San Jose Sharks host the Philadelphia Flyers to complete the opening night festivities.
The Detroit Red Wings, who bid adieu to Joe Louis Arena last season, will begin play at Little Caesar's Arena on Oct. 5 against the Minnesota Wild. The Red Wings played at Joe Louis Arena since 1979.
The Vegas Golden Knights will visit the Dallas Stars to play their first regular-season game on Oct. 6. The expansion club will play its first home contest four days later when it plays host to the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena.
St. Louis will exit Pittsburgh following the season opener and return home to face former head coach Ken Hitchcock and the Dallas Stars on Oct. 7.
Speaking of the Penguins, they'll host the Predators in a Stanley Cup Final rematch on Oct. 7. The teams will tangle again in Music City on Nov. 11.
Captain Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators will face off against the captain Gabriel Landeskog and the Colorado Avalanche in their native Sweden on Nov. 10-11. The contests will be played at Ericsson Globe in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series, marking the sixth time the league has played regular-season games in Europe -- but the first since 2011.
Outdoor games will be a part of the 2017-18 festivities as the Senators and Montreal Canadiens will battle it out in the elements on Dec. 16 at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, home of the RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League. The contest was selected to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NHL's first two games, one of which involved these two teams.
Also, the NHL Winter Classic will be on display on New Year's Day as the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers travel to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. The contest will mark the 10-year anniversary of the NHL Winter Classic, with the Sabres falling in a shootout to Crosby and the Penguins in the first one.
The NHL All-Star break will occur from Jan. 26-29 in Tampa. The All-Star Game format will be the same as it has been in each of the last two years, with three 20-minute games. Star players from each NHL division will make up the four All-Star teams: Pacific, Central, Atlantic, and Metropolitan.
Marc-Andre Fleury will return to Pittsburgh on Feb. 6 as the Golden Knights face the Penguins. Fleury, who is Penguins' all-time leader in goaltender wins (375) and shutouts (44), was selected by Vegas in the expansion draft on Wednesday.
The Capitals will also take the action outdoors in the NHL's Stadium Series on March 3 when they host the Maple Leafs at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.