Ottawa Senators 2015-16 Schedule Highlights


It has been quite the past two days for Ottawa Senators fans, as there has been so much to talk about. First Erik Karlsson won his second Norris last night (and Mark Stone and Andrew Hammond were runner-ups for their trophies), then it was announced that Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad were re-signed, and lastly the NHL released their full schedule for the 2015-16 season.

You can check out Ottawa’s schedule here on the Senators website. It’s always interesting looking at the new schedule, because every year there are some things to complain about and usually there are a lot of similarities.

For example, for the past five seasons (including this year) Ottawa has opened the season on the road. Also, for the past six seasons they have finished the season on the road. It’s something small that bugs me every year, and once again the Senators open the year with two straight away games and finish the year with an afternoon game in Boston.

Apr 24, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Ottawa Senators team celebrates the win against Montreal Canadiens in game five of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013-14, Ottawa started the season with away games against Buffalo and Toronto, and next season it will be the exact same. Ottawa’s season opener is on Thursday October 8th, and they play the Maple Leafs two days later on Saturday. Their season opener will be one day after that game on the Sunday against their rival Montreal Canadiens which should be quite the matchup.

In their first month, the Senators will have six home games and five road games. Here’s how the rest of the months look for home/road splits:

November: 6 home, 6 road

December: 7 home, 8 road

January: 5 home, 7 road

February: 7 home, 6 road

March: 8 home, 7 road

April: 2 home, 2 road

So as the season goes along the Senators will have a few more home games, especially in February and March.

There are some stretches in the season that are harder or easier than others, and some notable road trips include:

December 6th-12th: New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens

December 20th-22nd: Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers

January 10th-21st: Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings, San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils

February 23rd-27th: Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames

The longest road trip they have is five games long, which isn’t too bad considering they have just one other four game trip. However, the five gamer might be quite grueling, as they have to travel from Washington, go through the gauntlet that is California, and then return to New Jersey on the East coast.

Perhaps last years sweep of the California teams will give them some confidence for next season, but it’s always a trip that fans and players dread. The Western Canadian trip in late February will also be tough, even though none of the teams are particularly that impressive.

It’s also odd that the team has to fly to Florida to play the Panthers and Lightning twice in one month, which could be quite a tough few weeks.

You can never tell exactly who will be a good team and who will be bad at this point, but you can at least get a sense of how hard each part of the schedule is. As of now, there isn’t one month that stands out as the easiest, but if I had to pick, I would say it’s February:

The hardest game looks to be at home against Tampa Bay, but the key word there is home. It doesn’t look like there’s too many tough games besides that one, plus they have some soft competition like the Oilers (X2), Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, and Sabres.

There are some tougher months as well, and I would say that January is the worst:

Not only do they have a hard five-game road trip, they have to come back from New Jersey and play the Islanders the very next day at home. That won’t be easy playing on back-to-back nights. They also have to play the Blackhawks and Blues on the road back-to-back, so you can see why Ottawa might not do so well in the first month of 2016.

Throughout the whole season, the Senators have 14 back-to-back games, and 8 afternoon affairs. However, 3 of those afternoon games are at 5pm.  For comparisons sake, last year they had 13 back-to-backs and 7 afternoon games, but in 2013-14 there were 17 in the afternoon.

So the back-to-backs and afternoons are about average for an Eastern conference team, which is fine.

One thing that was odd is who they are playing amongst their division:

Normally they play at least one of Montreal or Toronto five times, but maybe it’s good that they get a break from them.

Lastly, here are some noteworthy games on the schedule:

October 11th- Home opener vs. Montreal

December 3rd- Cup Champs visit Ottawa

December 27/29th- Home and home vs. Boston

February 6th- First home game vs. Toronto

March 6th- Jason Spezza‘s 2nd game back home

April 7th- Last home game vs. Florida

April 9th- Last regular season game vs. Boston

It’s hard to tell from the get-go whether a team’s schedule is good or not, mostly because you don’t know for sure which opponents will be good or not. But for all other factors like road trips and back-to-backs it doesn’t look like too bad of a schedule.

All I can say is, I’ll be looking forward to February 25th when the Senators visit the Canucks so I am able to watch them play again. All this schedule talk is getting me excited for next year, but we still have a long way to go.

Next: Mark Stone And Mika Zibanejad Contracts Are Huge Going Forward

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