The Buffalo Sabres’ 40th anniversary season schedule was released by the National Hockey League on Wednesday.
The season opener is Oct. 8 in Ottawa, and the home opener will be the following night, a Saturday, against Chris Drury and the New York Rangers.
South Buffalo native Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks will make their only trip of the season to HSBC Arena on Oct. 11.
The opening-week schedule also includes Eastern Conference rivals, the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 13 and the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 15.
The Maple Leafs make the 90-mile trip down the QEW for the first time on Nov. 26, a game that is part of a Thanksgiving week that features home games against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 24.
The Leafs will also play in Buffalo, on Feb. 5 and Feb. 16.
The 2010-11 World Junior Championships will be put on hold for the Sabres’ New Year’s Day game against the Boston Bruins at 5 p.m.
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals visit the HSBC Arena on Feb. 20 for a 3 p.m. matinee, while the Detroit Red Wings make their lone visit to Buffalo the following weekend.
Conference rival Philadelphia Flyers will make their first visit on Jan 11.
The Sabres will play four sets of back-to-back home games: Nov. 19-20, Feb. 25-26, March 19-20 and March 25-26.
Buffalo will play Northeast Division counterpart Canadiens, Senators, Maple Leafs and Bruins six times each. They will also face-off against each non-divisional conference opponent four times each.
The Sabres will play 15 non-conference opponents, including a pair of short west coast stints that will take place in late December and early January.
Notable home games against Western Conference opposition includes the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 19, San Jose Sharks on Dec. 9 and Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 21.
The team’s longest road trip will take place in March when it plays seven games from March 1 to March 12. March marks Buffalo’s busiest month of the season, 16 games.
All Friday night home games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. starts, while all other home games will begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.