Canadiens to open season against Leafs on Oct. 13; rematch with Lightning on Dec. 7

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) and teammate Mitchell Marner (16) shake hands with Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) and teammate Corey Perry (94) after the Canadiens knocked the Maple Leafs out of the playoffs after game seven NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Montreal Canadiens fans already jonesing for more hockey can circle Oct. 13 on their calendar.

On Thursday, the National Hockey League released the schedule for the upcoming 2021-22 season and the Habs will open their season on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It will be the latest match up in an ancient rivalry that was recently renewed, with the Canadiens coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to upset the heavily favoured Leafs in the first round of the playoffs.

Their first game at home will be against the New York Rangers on Oct. 16. The Habs played every regular season game to an empty Bell Centre last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Other dates to watch include Oct. 26, when the Habs will play their first game against the NHL's newest team, travelling to Seattle to face the Kraken. The lineup may or may not include Cale Fleury, who the Kraken plucked from the Habs during this week's expansion draft.

On Dec. 7, the Habs will play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who defeated them in the Stanley Cup Finals.

After the last two seasons were shortened by the pandemic, the schedule released by the NHL has each team playing a full 82 games. The Canadiens will wrap up their regular season on April 29 when the Florida Panthers visit the Bell Centre.

All teams schedules feature a sizable gap in February. In a statement, the NHL said “talks remain ongoing” concerning the league's participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but that if “for whatever, reason, there is no NHL Player participation in the Olympics, a revised Regular Season schedule” will be released.

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