NHL announces 2015-16 schedule; Blackhawks open vs. Rangers

NHL announces its 2015-16 regular-season schedule: Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks open title defense against the New York Rangers.
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The National League Hockey released its 1,230-game regular-season schedule for 2015-16 on Thursday.

It all gets underway on Oct. 7 with four games. That night the Chicago Blackhawks will raise their third championship banner in the past six seasons before opening their title defense against the New York Rangers.

Other opening night games include the Montreal Canadiens against Mike Babcock’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the Vancouver Canucks visiting the surprising Calgary Flames with their Jack Adams Award-winning coach Bob Hartley, and the 2014 Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, who are looking to get back to the postseason, hosting the San Jose Sharks, who are now being coached by Pete DeBoer.

The New York Islanders, who called Nassau Coliseum home for four decades, move into their new digs at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn starting next season. Their first home game is Oct. 9 against the Blackhawks.

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The NHL Winter Classic will take place Jan. 1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with the Boston Bruins hosting the Canadiens.

The Stadium Series features two games: The Minnesota Wild hosting the Blackhawks on Feb. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus, and the Colorado Avalanche playing the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field in Denver on Feb. 27.

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No games will be played from Dec. 23 through Dec. 25 because of the NHL's traditional Christmas break.

The All-Star break is Jan. 28 to Feb. 1. The 61st All-Star Game will be played on Jan. 31 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

The regular season concludes on April 9, with all 30 teams taking the ice.

- Scooby Axson