Earlier this afternoon, after months of uncertainty, the NHL finally unveiled the 2020-21 season schedules for every team! See the featured image above for each team’s season-opening game. There are no times for any of the games yet, but those will reportedly be released in the coming days. Now, without further ado, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of the Bruins schedule!
The Bruins will open their season with a three-game road trip, playing the New Jersey Devils twice, including in the season opener on January 14th, before moving on to play the New York Islanders. They will then return home for four games against the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, including their home opener against the Flyers on January 21st. The Bruins will close their season at home with a two-game series from May 6-8th against the New York Rangers.
Road Trips and Homestands
As far as road trips go, the longest one of the Bruins season is four games. They have four of these road trips. Two of them will take place over the course of seven days (January 20th-February 5th and April 5th-11th). The other two four-game road trips will take place over six days (March 15-20 and April 22-27). Curiously enough, both seven-day road trips are against the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, while both six-day road trips are against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. The shortest road trip of the season is just one game on March 9th against the New York Islanders.
As for homestands, the Bruins have a six-game, ten-day stretch from March 25-April 3rd, where they will play the Islanders, Devils, and Penguins. The shortest homestand of the season is two games, and there are four of these over the course of the season. All of them will take place over the course of three days (February 6-8, March 11-13, April 29-May 1, and May 6-8). Interestingly, the February and April ones are both versus the Sabres, while the March and May ones are both versus the Rangers.
Breaks Between Games and Overall Schedule Structure
The Bruins have no back-to-back mini-series against the same team. Over the course of the season, the Bruins will have 39 one-day breaks between games, seven two-day breaks, one three-day break, and one four-day break. They also have eight back-to-back games, three of which will require travel. The back to backs are as follows:
- February 5-6, at the Flyers then vs the Sabres
- February 12-13, at the Rangers then at the Islanders
- February 25-26, at the Islanders then at the Rangers
- March 15-16, both at the Penguins
- March 27-28, vs the Islanders than vs the Devils
- April 5-6, both at the Flyers
- April 22-23, both at the Sabres
- May 3-4, both at the Devils
After their March 9th game against the Islanders, they will play the remainder of their season in two-game mini-series. All told, the Bruins will play a total of 25 two-game mini-series against the same team, and six single games. Four of those single games are against the Islanders, while the other two are against the Flyers.
Most of these facts are courtesy of this article published to NHL.com earlier today.
Historic Rivalries Will Not Be Played
This season will mark the first time in Bruins history that they will not play against the Montreal Canadiens during the regular season. I know many people don’t regard this rivalry as much of one anymore, but it definitely is. If anybody has watched the Canadiens play these past few seasons, you know they consistently play way better against the Bruins than any other team, and the Bruins always kick it up an extra notch despite being a far superior team. That’s how you know it’s a true rivalry. Once the Canadiens are done rebuilding, it’ll be back to its former glory, and people will question why they ever doubted if it was still a thing. So, while it’s understandable that they won’t see each other due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is going to be extremely weird and sad to not see this storied rivalry in action.
This season will also mark the second time in Bruins history that they will not play the rival Toronto Maple Leafs. The first time was back in the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season when the Leafs were in the Western Conference. This one is also going to be weird and sad to go without. It’ll also be weird not to get the chance to knock the Leafs out in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
One Division Streak Kept Alive, Another Renewed
For the 50th straight season, the Bruins will share a division with the Buffalo Sabres. I for one won’t be complaining about this, because the Sabres are one of the weaker opponents in what is a very tough division. So, while it might get boring to see them eight times, at least they should be an easier opponent (operative word here is should, watch them somehow beat the Bruins almost every time like the Detroit Red Wings did last year just because I said this). This is the longest active inter-division opponent streak in the NHL. It’s crazy to me that there has been that much shift in divisions that a streak like this is rare. But, I suppose that while there hasn’t been a lot of major overhaul in divisions, just switching a few teams around here and there is enough to break up any streak like this.
Meanwhile, the Bruins will share a division with the New York Rangers for the 20th time in their history. However, it’ll be the first time they’ve been in the same division in 47 years. They were last division opponents back in 1973-74 when they played in the East Division for the first seven years of the expansion era. Before that, they were division rivals in the American Division for the first 12 years of the Rangers’ existence (1926-38).
Other Miscellaneous Facts
This will be the first time since 1966-67 that the Bruins will only play against division opponents. It’ll also be the first time since 2012-13 that they will not play teams from the Western Conference. This season will also be the first since 2007-08 where teams see each other at least eight times. This year’s East Division also marks the eighth different division the Bruins have played in throughout their history, and the first new division they’ve played in since they joined the Atlantic Division in 2013.
Last but not least, this will only be the third time since the NHL transitioned to an 80+ game schedule in 1992-93 that the Bruins will play less than 82 games, and they’ll play the second-lowest total since then. They played 48 games in the lockout-shortened seasons of 1994-95 and 2012-13, and then last season they only played 70 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bruins Will Be Just Fine This Season
Overall, while the Bruins have a very full and difficult schedule ahead of them, I think they’ll do just fine. I know many people don’t hold that same view. However, it’s important to remember that this is a team that is two years removed from making it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and just one year removed from winning the President’s Trophy, and the only major player they’ve lost is Torey Krug. They are fine. The team we saw in the bubble is not this team. They were missing the most critical and only completely irreplaceable member of the team: Tuukka Rask. Without their starting goalie, any team would crumble.
Pastrnak and McAvoy, arguably their two best players, were also injured, and Pastrnak missed almost all of training camp (along with Ondrej Kase) due to quarantine restrictions. While this is not an excuse for them losing because every team had injured players, it is absolutely a reason why we shouldn’t take what we saw in the bubble as the real Bruins. They just weren’t. They are perfectly fine as is, and no more moves are necessary. If the right one comes along that will help the team (NOT Mike Hoffman (there’s a reason he’s still a UFA) or Noah Hanifin (he is not as good as you want to think he is)), then it should absolutely be jumped on. But, it is not imperative that one happens.
So, although the Bruins are in the toughest division in the league, they’ll be fine. In fact, if their depth steps up and starts scoring more (which seems likely, particularly given the addition of Craig Smith), they’ll be much more than fine. So, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the puck to finally drop again!
Finally, here’s the full schedule for the 2020-21 Bruins season. Their home games are italicized.
January (8 Games)
Thursday, January 14th @ New Jersey Devils (NJD)
Saturday, January 16th @ NJD
Monday, January 18th @ New York Islanders (NYI)
Thursday, January 21st vs Philadelphia Flyers (PHI)
Saturday, January 23rd vs PHI
Tuesday, January 26th vs Pittsburgh Penguins (PIT)
Thursday, January 28th vs PIT
Saturday, January 30th @ Washington Capitals (WSH)
February (14 Games)
Monday, February 1st @ WSH
Wednesday, February 3rd @ PHI
Friday, February 5th @ PHI
Saturday, February 6th vs Buffalo Sabres (BUF)
Monday, February 8th vs BUF
Wednesday, February 10th @ New York Rangers (NYR)
Friday, February 12th @ NYR
Saturday, February 13th @ NYI
Monday, February 15th vs NJD
Thursday, February 18th vs NJD
Sunday, February 21st vs PHI
Thursday, February 25th @ NYI
Friday, February 26th @ NYR
Sunday, February 28th @ NYR
March (14 Games)
Wednesday, March 3rd vs WSH
Friday, March 5th vs WSH
Saturday, March 7th vs PHI
Tuesday, March 9th @ NYI
Thursday, March 11th vs NYR
Saturday, March 13th vs NYR
Monday, March 15th @ PIT
Tuesday, March 16th @ PIT
Thursday, March 18th @ BUF
Saturday, March 20th @ BUF
Thursday, March 25th vs NYI
Saturday, March 27th vs NYI
Sunday, March 28th vs NJD
Tuesday, March 30th vs NJD
April (15 Games)
Thursday, April 1st vs PIT
Saturday, April 3rd vs PIT
Monday, April 5th @ PHI
Tuesday, April 6th @ PHI
Thursday, April 8th @ WSH
Sunday, April 11th @ WSH
Tuesday, April 13th vs NYI
Friday, April 16th vs NYI
Sunday, April 18th vs WSH
Tuesday, April 20th vs WSH
Thursday, April 22nd @ BUF
Friday, April 23rd @ BUF
Sunday, April 25th @ PIT
Tuesday, April 27th @ PIT
Thursday, April 29th vs BUF
May (5 Games)
Saturday, May 1st vs BUF
Monday, May 3rd @ NJD
Tuesday, May 4th @ NJD
Thursday, May 6th vs NYR
Saturday, May 8th vs NYR
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
Featured image courtesy of @NHL/Twitter
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