Yesterday, we talked about five can’t-miss games in the 2018-19 season. But there’s more to the schedule than just good giveaways and high-octane games. Here’s a break down of the full 82-game schedule and how that could affect the season:
Season/Home Opener: October 3
The Sharks will open the 2018-19 season at home against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, October 3. Aside from an additional preseason sweep, this will be the first time the two rivals will meet since San Jose swept Anaheim the in the first round of the playoffs and there’s sure to be some bad blood to sort out. It’ll also mark the regular season debut of Erik Karlsson and the reveal of the finalized roster.
Monthly Game Breakdown: 12-14-15-11-12-15-3
These are the numbers of games that the Sharks will be playing each month, with December and March being the busiest, with 15 games each. March is always a crucial month during the push for the playoffs, and thankfully for the Sharks, 11 of those games will be played at the Tank, giving them some extra rest and that home ice advantage.
Longest Road Trip: Five Games (x2)
The Sharks will hit the road on two separate five-game road trips, one of which begins October 5 in L.A. against the Kings. From there, San Jose will go east to play the New York Islanders (October 8), Philadelphia Flyers (October 9), New York Rangers (October 11) and New Jersey Devils (October 14).
The second five-game swing starts November 24 in Vegas against the Golden Knights, before a leap across the continent to face the Buffalo Sabres (November 27), Toronto Maple Leafs (November 28), Ottawa Senators (December 1) and Montreal Canadiens (December 2).
Over a third of the Sharks’ 2018-19 season will played in back-to-back scenarios, with 14 sets totaling 28 games. Nine of those back-to-backs will be played on the road, the first of which comes October 8-9 against the Islanders and Flyers. Three more will be played exclusively at the SAP Center, including a weekend series against the Kings and Arizona Coyotes on December 22 and 23, and two home/away sets.
The Champs Arrive: February 14
While they’ll meet first in Washington on January 22, Alex Ovechkin and the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals will make their only visit to the Shark Tank on Valentine’s Day, February 14. No word yet on whether Ovi plans to be lifted into the Cup to drink his pre-game Gatorade or not.
Bye Week and All-Star Weekend: January 23 — February 1
After playing the Capitals on Jan 22, the Sharks will begin their mandatory bye week, which will run from January 23 to February 1. The bye week will be split up to surround the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend, hosted in San Jose, which takes place on January 25 and 26. San Jose will return to the ice on February 2, when they host the Arizona Coyotes.
Chances to chant “Beat L.A.”: 4
The Sharks and Kings will meet just four times this year, with the first coming on October 5 at the Staples Center. The Kings’ only two appearances in the Bay Area will be in a Saturday night match-up on December 22, and a Monday game on January 7. Better start planning your heckling material now.
The Last Game: April 6
Last but not least, the Sharks’ will finish off the 2018-19 campaign when they host the Colorado Avalanche in a Saturday night tilt. While we can’t predict the importance of that final match-up yet, having the home ice advantage will be a huge boost if there is something on the line.