The Chicago Blackhawks released their 2021-22 regular-season schedule Thursday, giving fans a look at what the road to returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs will look like.
Two schedules were released by the NHL to teams. One was released to the public, which includes an Olympic break in February. It hasn’t been decided if NHL players will be allowed to participate in the Olympics.
The NHL will return to its regular divisional format, which means the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets will re-join the Central Division. The Arizona Coyotes will also join the division, with the Seattle Kraken coming into the Pacific Division.
Here are 10 key dates from next season’s schedule:
Oct. 19: Chicago at Colorado — Season opener
The Blackhawks will drop the puck on their season on the road against the Central Division favorite in Colorado. Chicago didn’t play the Avalanche last season since Colorado shifted to the West Division.
Oct. 19: Chicago vs. NY Islanders — Opening night
The Blackhawks will play their first game in a (hopefully) full capacity United Center for the first time since March 11, 2020. Chicago played its entire 2021 home schedule without fans before a limited capacity two-game set against the Dallas Stars in the season finale.
Oct. 30: Chicago at St. Louis — Rivalry renewed
The Blackhawks and the Blues didn’t play against each other this past season since the Blues shifted to the West Division. They play four times next season. The two rivals haven’t faced off since March 8, 2020, when the Blues shut out the Blackhawks 2-0.
Nov. 17: Chicago at Seattle — First look at Kraken
The Blackhawks will play the NHL’s 32nd team three times during the Kraken’s inaugural season. The first two games are in Seattle and the third game is April 7.
Dec. 5: Chicago at Islanders — New arena on Long Island
The Blackhawks will play their first game at UBS Arena against the Islanders. The arena gives the Islanders a permanent new arena after splitting time between Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Nassau Coliseum. UBS Arena sits next to Belmont Park race track.
Jan. 21: Chicago vs. Minnesota — Rivalry renewed, Part 2
The Blackhawks and Wild also didn’t play against each other this past season, with Minnesota in the West Division. They play four times next season. It will also be the Blackhawks first time playing against Kirill Kaprizov, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie this past season.
March 3: Chicago vs. Edmonton — Duncan Keith’s return
Duncan Keith will make his return to the United Center for the first time since he was traded to Edmonton for defenseman Caleb Jones and a 2022 conditional draft pick July 12. Keith, who played the first 16 years of his career with Chicago, requested the trade to be closer to his 8-year-old son. The Blackhawks will have a video tribute and special ceremony for Keith, a three-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Norris Trophy winner.
March 6: Chicago vs. Tampa Bay — The Champs
The Blackhawks will face the Lightning, the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions, twice next season after being in the same division last season. Tampa Bay was 7-0-1 against Chicago this past season.
April 27: Chicago vs. Vegas — Regular-season home finale
The Blackhawks wrap up their home schedule against the Golden Knights.
April 29: Chicago at Buffalo — Regular-season finale
Patrick Kane returns to his hometown of Buffalo for the Blackhawks’ regular-season finale. There might be some added intrigue if projected No. 1 overall pick Owen Power, a Chicago Steel alum, is playing with the Sabres after his sophomore season at Michigan. Power has stated he’s open to returning to Ann Arbor for another year.