Drew Stafford and the Sabres play Oct. 11 in Chicago and host the Blackhawks on April 3. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ 2014-15 schedule features lots of early action, more visits from old friends

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ 2014-15 schedule will get busy in a hurry, with the Oct. 9 season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets inside the First Niagara Center starting a stretch of 11 games in 22 days. They then play 14 games in November, their most active month.

Two home games against superstar Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, a Dec. 9 visit from the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and an April 3 contest against South Buffalo native Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks are among the highlights of the 82-game slate the NHL released Sunday.

The Sabres have 19 back-to-back games, up from a franchise-low 13 last season. They led the league in back-to-back sets in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before requesting a change to increase recovery time between games.

They have 22 weekend home dates – eight Fridays, 10 Saturdays and four Sundays – and also play on Columbus Day (a 3 p.m. game against the Anaheim Ducks), the day before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. They have five afternoon games, including three at home.

The Sabres have a season-long five-game home stand Feb. 7-15 and two five-game road trips in January and March.

Under the second season of the NHL’s four-division format, the schedule breaks down as follows: 30 games against divisional opponents (five against two teams and four against five clubs); 24 contests against non-divisional Eastern Conference opponents (three games versus each team); 28 games against Western Conference teams (two contests against each club).

The Sabres play their top rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs two times at home – Nov. 15 and April 1 – and four times total. The Penguins visit Nov. 8 and the April 11 season finale.

Some other interesting dates on the schedule:

Former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and the Dallas Stars visit Feb. 7. The Sabres play March 23 in Dallas.

Former Sabres captain Jason Pominville and the Minnesota Wild visit Jan. 15. The Sabres play in Minnesota on Nov. 13, the same time the Bills will be playing the Dolphins in Miami.

– The Sabres play in Chicago on Oct. 11, the season’s second game.

Here’s the complete 2014-15 schedule:

2014-15 Buffalo Sabres Schedule
Oct. 9 Columbus, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 Anaheim, 3 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 Florida, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 Boston, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 at San Jose, 4 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 Boston, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Nov. 2 Detroit, 5 p.m.
Nov. 5 Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 7 Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Nov. 8 Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Nov. 11 at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Nov. 13 at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Nov. 15 Toronto, 7 p.m.
Nov. 18 San Jose, 7 p.m.
Nov. 21 N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Nov. 22 at Washington, 7 p.m.
Nov. 26 Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
Nov. 28 Montreal, 7 p.m.
Nov. 29 at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Dec. 2 Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Dec. 4 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 at Florida, 7 p.m.
Dec. 9 Los Angeles, 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 Calgary, 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 Florida, 7 p.m.
Dec. 16 at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.
Dec. 20 Colorado, 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Boston, 7 p.m.
Dec. 23 at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 27 N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.
Dec. 29 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 31 Tampa Bay, 6 p.m.
Jan. 2 Florida, 7 p.m.
Jan. 3 at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Jan. 6 at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 Detroit, 7 p.m.
Jan. 15 Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Jan. 17 Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Jan. 18 at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Edmonton, 9:30 p.m.
Jan. 30 at Vancouver, 10 p.m.
Feb. 3 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 St. Louis, 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 Dallas, 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 N.Y. Islanders, 5 p.m.
Feb. 10 Ottawa, 7 p.m.
Feb. 15 Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17 at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Feb. 19 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Feb. 20 Ottawa, 7 p.m.
Feb. 22 Nashville, 6 p.m.
Feb. 24 at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Feb. 26 Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Feb. 28 at Florida, 3 p.m.
March 3 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
March 6 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
March 7 at Washington, 7 p.m.
March 11 at Toronto, 7 p.m.
March 14 N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
March 16 Washington, 7 p.m.
March 17 at Boston, 7 p.m.
March 20 New Jersey, 7 p.m.
March 21 at Nashville, 8 p.m.
March 23 at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
March 26 Arizona, 7 p.m.
March 28 at Colorado, 9 p.m.
March 30 at Arizona, 10 p.m.
April 1 Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
April 3 Chicago, 7 p.m.
April 4 at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.
April 6 Carolina, 7 p.m.
April 10 at Columbus, 7 p.m.
April 11 Pittsburgh, 7 p.m

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In his first year of eligibility, legendary Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek is expected to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame today.

Former Sabres Dave Andreychuk, Phil Housley and Alexander Mogilny are also eligible.

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