Matinee games highlight Winnipeg Jets 2012-13 schedule

By Chris Dubiel

All 30 NHL teams, including the Winnipeg Jets announced their schedules for the 2012-13 season.  As long as there is not a lockout when the current CBA expires in September, the regular season will start on Saturday October 13.

On that day, and yes I said day, the Jets will host the division rival Carolina Hurricanes at 2:00 p.m. That won’t be the only early game played in the MTS Centre. The first visit the Tampa Bay Lightning make will be on Saturday December 1 at 1:00 p.m. The Lightning were the team to officially eliminate the Jets from playoff contention last season.

A week after that, the Jets will play another 2:00 game against Carolina, then another on Sunday January 6 against the Florida Panthers. They’ll play at 1:00 against the Ottawa Senators on January 19 and against the Montreal Canadiens on February 17. Finally, they’ll play two more 2:00 games in March against the Washington Capitals on the 2nd and the Hurricanes on the 30th.

The Jets will enjoy home-heavy months of October, December and January.  October features five of seven at home, including an October 16 tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks, when Winnipeg’s favorite son Jonathan Toews pays a visit.  Winnipeg will have two three-game home stands and a two-game home stand in December and they’ll play five in a row at home in January.

The lengthy road trips will happen in November, February and March.  These all come at crucial points of the season as the six-game roadie starting November 17 will give us a feel  for what the Jets will actually be this year, especially because they’ll have to grind it out against the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres.  At this point, if they came out of that trip .500, a lot of us would be happy.

Depending on what the standings look like in the latter half of the season, the five-game West coast road trip at the end of February could loom large. The Jets won’t have back-to-backs on this trip, but will play every other night, including an afternoon visit to the Staples Center for their only matchup against the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.

Once the Jets close out the West coast trip on February 26, they will play two at home before heading back out on another five-game trip.  This trip starting on March 5 will include games against every Southeast Division team, so it could be a make-or-break trip as far as playoff implications go.

The Jets play their final home game on April 11 against the Panthers and the regular season will end on the 13th in Ottawa.  With the right moves this summer, some luck and some health, hopefully the game against the Senators won’t be the last.

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