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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames 2017-18 season schedule released

First, it’ll be preseason. Then, 82 games. And, following that, we hope for more – but those 82 games will determine if a postseason is in the cards or not.

In the meantime, the NHL has released its 2017-18 schedule. Here’s what the Flames’ season will look like.

Keep in mind there’s one rather big change to the Flames’ schedule this year: with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights, they now play in a division of eight teams. They’ll play six teams in their division four times – twice at home, and twice away – and one team five times. In the Flames’ case, that team will be Edmonton Oilers, who they will host three times, while trekking up north twice.

They’ll also play the seven Central Division teams three times each, and the 16 Eastern Conference teams twice each.

Divisional games of interest

We already knew the Flames were opening against the Oilers and Jets; now, we know they’ll take off for a quick southern California roadie right after, facing off against the team that ended their 2016-17 season – the Anaheim Ducks – in their own barn three games into the season. Their other trip to the Honda Center is on Dec. 29, so if the Flames are going to win there this season, it has to be in 2017.

This time around, games against Edmonton are actually spread out: the two teams play each other in October, December, January, and twice in March; no quick turnarounds to be found here.

They play their first game against Vegas (and former Flame Deryk Engelland) on Jan. 30, when the Golden Knights make their first trip to Calgary. The Flames will go to Vegas on Feb. 21 and March 28, for the first of two back-to-back games that will see them play the Coyotes the day after – so no nights in Vegas for the Flames this season. They’ll also host Vegas to end the regular season on April 7.

Back-to-backs

Speaking of back-to-backs, the Flames play in 12 of them. Three involve home games first – hosting Ottawa on Oct. 13, Nashville on Dec. 16, and L.A. on Jan. 24 – before immediately trekking to Vancouver on Oct. 14 and Dec. 17, and Edmonton on Jan. 25. There are the two aforementioned Vegas-Arizona back-to-backs in February and March. They only have one other back-to-back set within their division, playing in San Jose on Dec. 28 and Anaheim on Dec. 29.

Three of the Flames’ remaining back-to-backs focus on the Central Division: Nashville on Oct. 24 and St. Louis on Oct. 25, Dallas on Nov. 24 and Colorado on Nov. 25, and Dallas on Feb. 27 and Colorado on Feb. 28. The other three are Eastern affairs: Toronto on Dec. 6 and Montreal on Dec. 7, Tampa Bay on Jan. 11 and Florida on Jan. 12, and New Jersey on Feb. 8 and the New York Rangers on Feb. 9.

Long stretches

In late October and early November, the Flames will play a seven-game homestand; upon its conclusion, they will trek through the East and Central for six games through the second half of November, including a quick turnaround in facing off against Washington. They also have a six-game road trip in the first half of February, again mostly through the Eastern Conference, with two games in the Central as well.

Matinees

The Flames play seven afternoon games throughout the season: Saturday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. in Philadelphia; Sunday, Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. in Carolina; Saturday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. hosting Winnipeg; Monday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. hosting Boston; Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. hosting Colorado; Sunday, March 18 at 1 p.m. in Vegas; and Saturday, March 24 at 1 p.m. in San Jose.

One matinee – the one in Vegas – is the first half of a back-to-back in which they have to travel to Arizona for the next day’s game.

Important dates

Five days off during the season appear to continue to be a thing. The Flames’ five-day break will be from Jan. 15-19. They’ll play in Carolina in the afternoon prior to their break, and return home to host Winnipeg for a matinee when they come back – for three games. It appears the Flames’ final game before the All-Star Break will be on Jan. 25 in Edmonton, and they’ll return on Jan. 30 to host Vegas.

The trade deadline will be on Feb. 26, so the Flames’ final game before then will be on Feb. 24 at home against Colorado; they’ll be on the road immediately following it. After the trade deadline, the Flames play 19 games, including six games against the East, and 10 divisional games. If you were wondering if a potential push for the playoffs could get meaningful towards the end, signs point towards yes.

And then, of course, there are the games you most want to see. What are you most looking forward to?