It took me a little longer than I anticipated, but I’m here now to discuss the 2009-10 New Jersey Devils schedule. We actually open up at home for the second straight year, which is nice. That seems like it almost never happens. But, as usual, we are not one of the first games of the season, so as the season starts up, we will have to wait a bit to see our Devils. The new look Devils will start the 2009-10 season on October 3rd at 7:00 PM EST against Atlantic Division rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.
New Jersey is 3-1-1 in its last five opening games of the year, with its only loss coming to the Lightning in the 2007-08 season, when they had that nine game road trip to start the season. After the first two games at home, they have their first road trip of the season, visiting three Southeast Division teams. The first big game of the year will of course be a rematch with the hated Hurricanes. The first meeting between the two since the classic first round match-up last year, will take place at The Rock on Saturday October 17th at 7:00 PM EST. The first month will be a challenging one for this new look Devils team. They play twelve games in a 28 day span, only 5 of them are at home and 7 of the 12 teams they face are playoff teams from the previous season. This looks like an arduous task at first, but I would rather them start the year off with some tough games, so they can get the team established and get a good idea of what needs to be improved. The Devils always seem to be able to rise to the occasion, therefore I am not worried and trust that after the first month of the season, Devil fans will be very encouraged with what they have seen.
It is also interesting to note that the Devils will play the Capitals three times within a 27 day span. Teams that are not within your division, but in the same conference are played a total of 4 times. To take two out of those three meetings from a tough team like Washington will truly show fans where the Devils stand amongst the rest of the league. The first Western Conference team to play NJ will be the Ducks of Anaheim. Speaking of the Western Conference, NJ will visit Nashville and Dallas amidst a three game road trip, marking those teams as the first W.C. teams they will meet away from home. Vancouver will come to The Rock for the first time ever, and play NJ on the road for the first time since 2006.
As far as road trips go, the Devils longest is a five game stretch from January 9th to January 18th. The last game for the Devils before hitting to Olympic break is on February 13th in Raleigh, NC against who else but those pesky Hurricanes. However, once the Olympic break is over, the Devils will face their largest test of the year with a three game western road trip. They will face, in order, the Sharks, Flames, and Oilers. The sharks are notoriously tough at home, the Flames will be an emotional battle going against old coach Brent Sutter (look for the Devils to really want to prove he made a bad decision), and Edmonton is always a difficult place to play with their die-hard fans behind them. Finally, the season will close out against the Sabres right where it started, at The Rock on April 11th at 5:00 PM EST
* Notable Games *
Flyers vs. Devils
Saturday October 3rd, 2009 at 7:00 PM EST
Hurricanes vs. Devils
Saturday October 17th, 2009 at 7:00 PM EST
Devils @ Penguins
Saturday October 24th, 2009 7:30 PM EST
Canucks vs. Devils
Wednesday December 2nd, 2009 7:00 PM EST
Red Wings vs. Devils
Saturday December 5th, 2009 7:00 PM EST
Devils @ Blackhawks
Thursday December 31st, 2009 8:30 PM EST
Devils @ Wild (Lemaire returns to Minnesota)
Saturday January 2nd, 2010 8:00 PM EST
Devils @ Canadians
(Gionta, Gomez tandem goes against NJ for first time)
Saturday January 9th, 2010 7:00 PM EST
Devils @ Flames (Devils face Sutter)
Friday March 5th, 2010 9:00 PM EST