The Edmonton Oilers will open the 2020/21 NHL regular season with a home game against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 13.
It’ll be the start of a 56-game campaign for the Oilers in the North Division, which has been temporarily formed for the pandemic-shortened season. It features all seven Canadian teams, who will play only against each other during the regular season and first two rounds of the playoffs.
“To play 56 divisional games against all Canadian teams is like a dream come true,” said Oilers centre Kyle Turris. “You play teams in the division nine or 10 times over the course of the year, it’s going to get real ugly. It’s going to be more like old time hockey.”
The Oilers will play the Canucks and Calgary Flames 10 times each. They’ll take on Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal nine times each.
“I think it’s going to be pretty fun,” said forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “There’s going to be intense games. Shortened seasons usually bring out more intensity, especially early in the year. There’s not a whole lot to save it for.”
In an effort to limit travel, the NHL has gone more with a baseball-style schedule. Usually, the Oilers will play an opponent twice in a row in the same city. On a few occasions, it’ll be a three-game series. The Maple Leafs come to Rogers Place for three games from Feb. 27 – March 3, while Ottawa visits for three March 8 – 12. The Oilers are in Montreal for three from March 22 – 26.
“Very competitive. Seven teams, only four makes the playoffs. I think everyone in the division thinks they can make the playoffs,” said Oilers general manager Ken Holland. “I think we’re in for a real tough race, but it’s going to be exciting.”
The first Battle of Alberta is Feb. 6 in Calgary. The Oilers end the regular season May 7 in Calgary.