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Leafs host Habs on first night of NHL season; Flames and Canucks also meet

Montreal Canadiens' Daniel Briere, centre, is sandwiched between Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier, left, and Carl Gunnarsson during second period NHL action in Montreal on March 1, 2014.

Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will once again kick off the NHL season.

The league released its official schedule today, and the Original Six rivals will face off at Air Canada Centre in the earliest of the four games scheduled for opening night on Oct. 8.

It will be the sixth straight season Montreal and Toronto have met on opening night.

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The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings are also in action Oct. 8.

They host the San Jose Sharks, the team they beat in the first round of last year's playoffs after coming back from a 3-0 series deficit.

The other games on opening night see Vancouver visit Calgary and Boston welcome Philadelphia.

The other three Canadian teams open the next night on Oct 9. The Winnipeg Jets visit the Arizona Coyotes, the Ottawa Senators are on the road against the Nashville Predators, and Calgary hosts the rival Edmonton Oilers.

The league also announced that the Washington Capitals will host to the Chicago Blackhawks in the outdoor 2015 Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

The season will be the first under the blockbuster $5.2-billion broadcast deal the NHL signed with Rogers in November.

Rogers released a partial broadcast schedule Sunday with 200 of the 350 games it will show over the season, including 150 Saturday night games under the "Hockey Night in Canada" brand. It will also broadcast the Winter Classic on CBC.

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