Highlights and key dates from the newly announced 2011-12 NHL schedule

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It’s time to start planning your road trips and anticipating your “sick days” because the NHL released all 30 team’s schedules for the 2011-12 season today.

Thursday, October 6 will mark the opening day of the season. It will involve three games: the Boston Bruins will raise their Stanley Cup banner against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Montreal Canadiens will visit the Maple Leafs in Toronto and the Pittsburgh Penguins will play a road game against the Vancouver Canucks. The following Friday will feature those overseas games known as the NHL Premiere Games (this year’s teams include the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks).

Winnipeg fans will finally see their 15-year drought of NHL hockey end on Sunday, October 9 against the Canadiens. (Want to find out if Winnipeg has a strange schedule because they’re staying in the Southeast Division? Click here to peruse their schedule. You can also take a look at individual team schedules by clicking here.)

Here are some highlights of the new schedule, via NHL.com. PHT will provide more information and analysis in future posts.

Season-Opening Night
Thursday, October 6 – Flyers @ Bruins, Habs @ Leafs, Pens @ Canucks

Compuware NHL Premiere Games (Stockholm, Helsinki and Berlin)
Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday Oct. 8
* Games will feature Rangers, Sabres, Kings and Ducks

Meeting of the past two Stanley Cup champions
Boston @ Chicago — Saturday, Oct. 15

Hall of Fame Game
Boston @ Toronto, Saturday, Nov. 5

All-Star Break
Jan. 26-30

Meeting of 2011 Stanley Cup Finalists
Vancouver @ Boston – Saturday, Jan. 7

Busiest Day
Saturday, April 7 — 15 games

Regular Season Concludes

April 7, 2012

Want to know when your team will hold its home opener? Look no further than this list.

ANAHEIM – Friday, Oct. 14, San Jose
BOSTON – Thursday, Oct. 6, Philadelphia
BUFFALO – Friday, Oct. 4, Carolina
CALGARY – Saturday, Oct. 8, Pittsburgh
CAROLINA – Friday, Oct. 7, Tampa Bay
CHICAGO – Saturday, Oct. 8, Dallas
COLORADO – Saturday, Oct. 8, Detroit
COLUMBUS – Friday, Oct. 7, Nashville
DALLAS – Friday, Oct. 7, Chicago
DETROIT – Friday, Oct. 7, Ottawa
EDMONTON – Sunday, Oct. 9, Pittsburgh
FLORIDA – Saturday, Oct. 15, Tampa Bay
LOS ANGELES – Tuesday, Oct. 18, St. Louis
MINNESOTA – Saturday, Oct. 8, Columbus
MONTREAL – Thursday, Oct. 13, Calgary
NASHVILLE – Thursday, Oct. 13, Phoenix
NEW JERSEY – Saturday, Oct. 8, Philadelphia
NY ISLANDERS – Saturday, Oct. 8, Florida
NY RANGERS – Thursday, Oct. 27, Toronto
OTTAWA – Tuesday, Oct. 11, Minnesota
PHILADELPHIA – Wednesday, Oct. 12, Vancouver
PHOENIX – Saturday, Oct. 15, Winnipeg
PITTSBURGH – Tuesday, Oct. 11, Florida
ST. LOUIS – Saturday, Oct. 8, Nashville
SAN JOSE – Saturday, Oct. 8, Phoenix
TAMPA BAY – Monday, Oct. 17, Florida
TORONTO – Thursday, Oct. 6, Montreal
VANCOUVER – Thursday, Oct. 6, Pittsburgh
WASHINGTON – Saturday, Oct. 8, Carolina
WINNIPEG – Sunday, Oct. 9, Montreal

It’s OK, you can get excited.