The complete NHL schedule for the 2011-2012 season has been announced, and the Colorado Avalanche start their season out with a bang.
Pepsi Center will host the Detroit Red Wings on October 8, 2011 for Opening Night. Despite a poor season, the Avalanche managed a 1-1-2 record against the archrivals, including one of the best games of the season on December 27, 2010. Matt Duchene scored late in the third period to force overtime of an exciting back-and-forth game. Colorado lost in the extra session despite outshooting the Red Wings by a 49-30 margin. Detroit will play their second game at Pepsi Center on December 4.
The Avalanche immediately set out on a five game road-trip from there, starting at the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins on Monday, October 10.
The New York Islanders will visit Pepsi Center for the second straight year on November 10. Colorado lost 4-3 in overtime last January.
Colorado visits the Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 15, in what should be a marquee matchup -- and potentially a nationally televised game. The Penguins make their second straight trip to Denver for a March 3 game.
Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk will return to Pepsi Center on December 2, but as members of the visiting St. Louis Blues. They return to Pepsi Center on December 21.
Between October 28 and December 4, the Avalanche will play 14 of their 18 scheduled games at home -- including eight straight home games during the second half of November.
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals make their first visit to Denver since December 15, 2009, when they blew out the Avalanche by a 6-1 margin.
The currently unnamed Winnipeg team (formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers) will make their first visit to Denver on December 27. Hopefully, they have a team name by then...
The Avalanche are road heavy the second half of the season, including playing seven of nine games in March on the road -- and against tough opponents as well. New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Buffalo Sabres make up an East Coast road swing before a West Coast trip against the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, and Calgary Flames.