Less than a week from today, the Carolina Hurricanes will kick off their jam-packed upcoming campaign on Saturday night, Jan. 19, in Florida.
They'll then proceed to play 48 games in a mere 99 days—a game density that will endanger even the most hardy players on the roster—before the regular season concludes Apr. 27.
And then, hopefully, they'll have a reason not to take to the golf course for the fourth year in a row.
How does the 'Canes' schedule shake out for the upcoming three-and-a-half months, and how well does it bode for their ever-important playoff chances?
A complete schedule analysis by the numbers lies below.
Five: Games the 'Canes will play against the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning, compared to only four against the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets. The uneven schedule means that Carolina will host the Bolts three times and the other three divisional foes only twice.
Eighteen: Games the 'Canes will play in the division, leaving 30 games—three each—against the Eastern Conference's other 10 teams.
Two: Home games the 'Canes will play against the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Meanwhile, they will host the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs just once each.
Three: Games in the 'Canes' longest homestand of the season, although it will happen on three different occasions. Buffalo, Montreal and New Jersey will visit PNC Arena from Mar. 5-9; Florida, New Jersey and Winnipeg will come to Raleigh from Mar. 19-26; Washington, Tampa Bay and the Rangers will be on tap from Apr. 2-6.
Six: Games in the 'Canes' longest road trip of the year. While the circus is in town, Carolina will spend 10 days away from home (Feb. 2-12) visiting Toronto, Ottawa, New Jersey, Long Island and, on two occasions, Philadelphia.
Four: Longest stretch of consecutive days the 'Canes will not play a game—they play New Jersey on Mar. 21 and then, after four days of rest, Winnipeg on Mar. 26.
Nine: Sets of back-to-back games for the 'Canes, including two in their first seven overall contests and three in their final fifteen matches.
Three: Sets of consecutive 'Canes games against the same opponent, all of which play one game at each arena. Carolina plays Buffalo on Jan. 24 and 25 (home/away), Florida on Mar. 2 and 3 (home/away) and Washington on Mar. 12 and 14 (away/home).
Ten: Games the 'Canes will play with start times not at 7:00 p.m. ET. Five, including the season opener, are at 7:30; two are at 6:00; two are afternoon matinees (both away); one is at 8:00 (at Winnipeg, the only non-Eastern Time Zone team the Hurricanes will play all year).
Zero: Games the 'Canes will play on NBC or NBC Sports Network, a surprising no-show given the Hurricanes' spotlight-grabbing offseason.
Bigger point, how do the Canes - Vegas' preseason division favorite - not get any national TV dates? Not even Semin's return to DC.— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) January 13, 2013
Eight: Games the 'Canes will have shown on NHL Network.
TBD: Games the 'Canes will have televised locally throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia on Fox Sports Network. The announcement is likely to be made Monday or Tuesday.
Zero: Games the 'Canes play on a Wednesday anywhere, at any point during the season.
Zero: Home games the 'Canes have slated for a Sunday.
Nine: Games the 'Canes play at home on Thursdays, almost half of their 24 total contests in Raleigh. The Hurricanes also play four road games on a Thursday.
Seven: Home games the 'Canes have scheduled for a Friday or Saturday. All but one of the seven are 7:00 Saturday night puck drops.
Streaks & Oddities
Nine: Home games the 'Canes have between Feb. 28 and Mar. 26, compared to just four away matches during that time span. Florida and New Jersey play both of their games at PNC Arena during that four-week stretch.
What rank will the Hurricanes finish in the Eastern Conference?
Three: Saturday road games (at Florida Jan. 19; at Philadelphia Feb. 2; at Philadelphia Feb. 9) before their first Saturday home game (Tampa Bay, Feb. 23). They then play six of their final nine Saturday games in North Carolina.
(That's better than the original 82-game schedule, however, which had the 'Canes play a whopping eight Saturday road games before their first mid-weekend home contest.)
Five: Consecutive games the 'Canes will play against last season's non-playoff teams between Feb. 14 and 24—vs. Toronto, at Montreal, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Tampa Bay and at the N.Y. Islanders.
Two Hundred Seventeen: Combined points the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, the Eastern Conference's two best teams of the 2011-12 regular season, accumulated last year. The Rangers and Penguins are the 'Canes final two opponents this season.
Seventeen: Games Alexander Semin must wait before his first trip to Washington as an opponent. We're sure he's really looking forward to it:
By way, Semin came to RCI with a Caps equipment bag. Told a friend from D.C. that he could take it and burn it.— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) January 12, 2013
Forty-Seven: Games Jordan Staal must wait before his first trip to Pittsburgh as an opponent. The 'Canes only visit to the Steel City comes Apr. 27, their last game of the regular season.
For the 'Canes' complete schedule, click here.
For more information on purchasing Hurricanes tickets for the coming season, click here.
Mark Jones has been a Bleacher Report featured columnist since 2009. He has written more than 450 articles and received over 810,000 reads.