Boston Bruins: The 2020-21 Schedule was Released Wednesday

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 04: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins reacts with his teammates after scoring in the second period of a game against the Vancouver Canucks TD Garden on February 4, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 04: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins reacts with his teammates after scoring in the second period of a game against the Vancouver Canucks TD Garden on February 4, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Bruins 2020-21 schedule was released on Wednesday.

The Boston Bruins released their 56-game 2020-21 regular-season schedule Wednesday and the Black and Gold will open the season on Jan. 14 at the New Jersey Devils. After two games with the Devils in East Rutherford, N.J., the Bruins will stop in Brooklyn, New York for a game with the New York Islanders, then play their first home game at the TD Garden on Jan. 21 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

This year’s schedule will look like nothing that fans have seen before because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gone for this season in the Atlantic Division and the Bruins are in the newly regionalized East Division, primarily made up of teams in the Northeast cut down on travel.

The Bruins have eight back-to-back games and will play the new East Division opponents eight times each, four times at home and four times on the road. The schedule also has a baseball feel to it with 25 two-games sets against the same opponent in the same arena.

The Bruins will play four of their final six games at home. They will host the Buffalo Sabres on April 29 and May 1, before playing the other two games at the Devils. They then return home to close out the regular season against the New York Rangers on May 6 and 8.

The playoffs will have a different look to it as well as the top four teams in each division will qualify for the postseason. After two rounds against their own divisional foes, the winners from each division advance to the semifinals against the other division winners. The teams will be reseeded based on regular-season points to determine a 2021 Stanley Cup winner.

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It could tough sledding for the Bruins in the early part of their schedule. They know that they will be without the services of leading scorer David Pastrnak, who is recovering from hip surgery in September and has a mid-February return time frame. Brad Marchand is also recovering from surgery in September when he had a procedure for a sports hernia. His return date is mid-January, around opening night.

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This has been a week that hockey fans have been waiting for since the playoffs ended in September with the Tampa Bay Lightning being crowned Stanley Cup champions. On Sunday, the NHL and NHLPA announced that they came to an agreement for the 2020-21 season, and Wednesday the NHL released the schedule. It has been the Christmas present that hockey fans had hoped for.