After two days of delays — while the NHL finalized its agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation to send its players to the Olympics in February — the Bruins finally released their 2013-14 schedule on Friday.
The slate includes a 17-day break, from Feb. 9-25, while players head to Sochi, Russia, to play for their countries in the Olympics. It also includes a game at every NHL arena, with every NHL team also coming to TD Garden, a part of the new scheduling and realignment that starts this upcoming season.
The Bruins begin the season Oct. 3 at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a fellow member of the newly formed Atlantic Division, which also includes the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Maple Leafs. That’s followed by two early home games against Detroit, which moved from the Western Conference, on Oct. 5 and 14, as the Bruins begin their defense of the Eastern Conference title.
The team’s first road game is Oct. 12, against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who will be without the newly signed Nathan Horton because he had shoulder surgery.
Other highlights at TD Garden include the return of Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley with Dallas on Nov. 5 to start a season-long, five-game homestand and the team’s first meeting with Toronto (Nov. 9) since the epic Game 7 that finished the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs.
The return of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins to Boston is Nov. 25, and Nov. 29 marks the annual day-after-Thanksgiving afternoon game, which will be against the Rangers.
The Canadiens won’t make it to Boston until Jan. 30, though the Bruins play in Montreal Dec. 5. Although the Bruins have only five games in February, one is against Andrew Ference and the Edmonton Oilers Feb. 1 at TD Garden. The Vancouver Canucks, who lost to the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, come to town Feb. 4. Another, more recent Stanley Cup opponent shows up on March 27, when the defending champion Blackhawks come to TD Garden.
The road slate includes two four-game trips, one across Canada — Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver — from Dec. 8-14. The other goes through Washington, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Toronto from March 29 to April 3.
The Bruins head to Pittsburgh on Oct. 30, where Jarome Iginla will meet up with the Penguins. Iginla will also have a big day Dec. 10, in his return to Calgary and the city in which he played from 1996 to the trading deadline last season.
The Bruins will play at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers for the first time Nov. 19, and will face the Blackhawks at the United Center Jan. 19.
The Bruins finish up the season with back-to-back games, first at home against Buffalo April 12, and in New Jersey against the Devils the following afternoon.