European, outdoor games highlight 2018-19 NHL schedule

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, pictured in January 2018, will play their season opener October 6 at Gothenburg, Sweden

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid will open the 2018-19 NHL season in Europe while US fans will have two outdoor contests to enjoy under the 1,271 game league schedule released Thursday.

The Oilers and New Jersey Devils will play their season opener October 6 at Gothenburg, Sweden, while the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets meet November 1-2 in two regular-season contests at Helsinki.

The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks will meet at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, on January 1 for the annual NHL Winter Classic outdoor game while the Philadelphia Flyers will play host to arch-rival Pittsburgh on February 23 in the other outdoor game at the home of the reigning NFL Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The Washington Capitals, who won the first Stanley Cup title in their 44-year history earlier this month, will raise their championship banner on the opening night of the NHL season, October 3, when they play host to Boston.

The Vegas Golden Knights, who lost to Washington in the Stanley Cup Final, will visit the Capitals on October 10 in their first meeting since Washington took the title on the Vegas home ice.

Of special interest to Capitals fans will be a November 26 contest at the New York Islanders, the first time Washington will go against former coach Barry Trotz, who guided the team to the title but walked away Monday after being unable to agree on terms of a new contract.

Just three days later, and hours before the schedule announcement, Trotz signed to coach the Islanders, who will visit Washington on January 18 and April 6 on the final day of the campaign.

Three other opening night games feature Montreal at Toronto, Calgary at Vancouver and Anaheim at San Jose.

Each team will play 82 games through the final day of the season on April 6, 2019, when 30 of the NHL's 31 clubs will take the ice.

The Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers both celebrate their 25th anniversary in the 2018-19 campaign.

The Panthers open the season at Tampa Bay on October 6, exactly 25 years after playing to a 4-4 draw in their first NHL regular-season game at Chicago.

The Ducks will open at home on October 8 against Detroit exactly 25 years after playing their first game at home against Detroit, losing 7-2 to the Red Wings in 1993.

The NHL season will pause from January 24-27 for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game on January 26 at San Jose. Stars from all four divisions will meet in three 20-minute mini games using a 3-on-3 format plus goaltenders in a tournament setup.

February 9 will be Hockey Day in Canada with all seven NHL Canadian clubs playing while six games will be featured on February 17 for Hockey Day in America.