Montreal Canadiens Schedule 2011-2012

There are two schedules on my fridge.

One is the countdown to the end of the days of summer. Each day on that calender takes me one more step closer to September 20th when the Montreal Canadiens play their first pre season game against the Dallas Stars.

The other is the official regular season schedule that was released by the NHL a few short days ago.

A quick trip through the 2011-2012 calendar showed a typical Habs year ahead. The usual opening and closing matches. A typical Christmas time road trip. But there are some noted differences between last years docket, and the calendar for this upcoming season.

Of things that stay the same are the opening night of the NHL season (October 6th), as the Habs begin their Stanley Cup quest once again against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Also without change is how La Flanelle close out their season. Also against the Leafs, almost six months to the day (April 7th) of their opening night.

Another schedule note that feels quite at home, is the Habs longest road trip of the season beginning on December 19th, which will see them play 6 games in 13 days. This typical “Christmas road tour” will end in the state of Florida, where the arena’s of both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers will be infused with Montreal snow bird fans that have travelled south to escape the harsh winter realities of the Great White North.

But there are some substantial changes to this years trip. Last season, the Habs were asked to face 7 games on the road in the waning days of December while facing two Western Conference teams and five Eastern Conference teams. This year, the trip gets shortened by a game, while being engrained with two very important divisional games against Boston (opening the road trip) and Ottawa.

On such a long hiatus from home ice, the team has had both success (two seasons ago going 6-1) and failure (last season being 2-5) on this trip. A trip that can easily set the tone for the balance of the season if things are too much of a struggle. Facing two divisional opponents in this years Christmas trip could have a substantial impact on how the team looks heading into the stretch through the second portion of the season.

It doesn’t get any easier from there for le Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge.

The Habs face ten back to back series this coming season, and the stretch run is where they face the most adversity.

October brings them one back to back experience when they face the Flyers at home on October 26th, followed by a trip to Boston on the 27th.

November is a tougher month with three back to back sessions, visiting Ottawa on the 4th, followed by a visit to the Rangers on the 5th. Carolina comes into le Centre Bell on the 16th, and the team then hits the bus for Long Island for the 17th. Rounding out the month are games in Philladelphia (25th), and then back home against Pittsburgh the following day.

December and January see only one back to back set of matches each month, while there are none in February.

The big test will be in the true stretch, as the Canadiens face three weekends in a row of back to back tests, at a time when pushing for a playoff spot becomes imperative (March 16th and 17th visiting Ottawa and then home to the Islanders; March 23rd and 24th at home to the Senators and then visiting the Flyers; March 30th and 31st on the road to the Rangers and the Capitols respectively).

They close out the back to back scenario in April as they host the Lightning (April 4th), followed by a trip to Carolina the following day.

There is no doubt that this schedule will test the mettle of both Carey Price, and the decision of Pierre Gauthier to bring Peter Budaj into the position as Price’s relief.

Another game that is worthy of note is October 9th, when the Canadiens travel to Winnipeg to challenge the new Jets in their inaugural NHL match-up. There couldn’t be a better way to welcome the Jets back to Canada than with this epic contest.

All in all, the Habs see a fairly even looking schedule as the number of matches stay fairly consistant from month to month (Oct-11, Nov-14, Dec-14, Jan-11, Feb-14, Mar-15, Apr-4).

So it seems it’s business as usual come October 6th. A day that I’m quite sure you have marked on your calendar as well!


About Iain Carnegie (@emann_222 on Twitter)

I have followed the Montreal Canadiens for over twenty years, even while living in the heart of Toronto. I spent 5 years in the mecca of hockey, moving to the Plateau region of Montreal in the summer of 2009, I've been writing extensively on the Habs franchise at Bleed Blue Blanc Rouge BBBR has now moved to it's new home here at WordPress, , where content continues to matter.
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5 Responses to Montreal Canadiens Schedule 2011-2012

  1. Karen B. says:

    I am getting bored of starting the season against the Leafs, but it sure beats having to be in Boston to watch them raise their damn banner (which I was sure the schedule makers were going to make us sit through)
    Not looking forward to the back-to-back early in the season with Philly and then going to Boston…
    Playing the Jets for their opener is super exciting, but one game I’ll miss this year compared to last is the Ducks (or, more importantly, Koivu) at the Bell Centre instead of in Anaheim at the end of November.
    But Iain, you missed one…the return of Halak on January 10! LOL I’m kidding…that really should be a non-issue by then…but it will be interesting to see how the lovely fans of Montreal welcome him (or don’t, as the case may be)
    And, hopefully, that last game against the Leafs won’t matter again. Unless, of course, the Leafs are counting on it to make the playoffs and then lose… haha (I’m still bitter about that last game from 5 (I think) seasons back…)
    Oh, and it would be nice to not have silly suspensions in the preseason to prevent a key player from the opening night game… 😉

    • I am literally laughing out loud! Thanks Karen!

      I personally won’t miss the Ducks coming to Montreal this season. As much as I love Koivu, and have the ultimate respect for him as a player and a human being, I knew that the team took a back seat to his return here last season giving up 2 potentially important points to a western conference team. At the end of the day – and this may sound very cold hearted (and it is not intended that way), two points can be the difference between a post season and golf. I for one prefer to keep the Habs game on fire – even when competing against their old Captain. Something they let slip away in the emotion last year.

      Love the Halak comment (btw), although I know that’s a mute point here in La Belle Provence now!

      We’re in store for a great season. Of that I’m sure. Looking forward to October 6th!!!

      • Karen B. says:

        When it comes to Koivu, I will always be sentimental and like you, the respect for him is unlimited. (I still have that game recorded on DVR!) But yes, I do understand that 2 points are very important… I’ve also seen the Habs just give up a very easy 2 points in games that should have been wins, like frustratingly, near the end of the season against bottom teams as we try to clinch a playoff spot. We did get 1 point out of that Ducks game, and I can’t help but thank Koivu and his penalties for that…lol I don’t know how many games he’s taken 3 penalties, but certainly not many! And with only a couple minutes left in the game, he took a silly one which ultimately allowed us to tie the game. In my mind, I prefer to think that was his gift. Or maybe, he was the one taken away by emotion since more than half the team didn’t play when he did anyway.
        There are players that I miss and still wish were playing in Montreal for various reasons, but Koivu is the one that still kills me! While most probably disagree, I hope he returns for one season, if only to be able to retire in Montreal.

        Halak may be a non-issue…for now… It will be re-raised after Christmas as that game gets closer. You know Habs fans as well as I do…and the media, of course, will hype it up… lol

        Yup, bring on October 6!!

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