Wild regular season schedule is out; playoff powers pose early threat

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The Minnesota Wild will open the 2015-16 season with back-to-back games against division rivals.

The full NHL regular season schedule was released Thursday, one day after the Wild announced it will open the season Oct. 8 at Colorado. Two days later they'll play their home opener against the St. Louis Blues, whom they skated past in the first round of the playoffs last season.

As for the rest of the schedule, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune notes that Minnesota will play 15 back-to-backs and their longest home stands and road trips won't reach beyond four games.

Russo quipped that the key part of the schedule will be Game 43 against the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo has been Minnesota's opponent for the 43rd game each of the past two years, and served as a slump-busting friend on both occasions en route to the Wild eventually reaching the postseason.

Russo's joke isn't quite as funny when you look at how difficult the early portion of the schedule is. Ten of Minnesota's 13 games following the season opener are against playoff teams from a season ago. During that stretch, they play twice against the Blues, Ducks and Jets and once against the Kings, Blackhawks, Predators and Lightning.

The Blackhawks and Lightning met in this year's Stanley Cup Final, with Chicago taking the Cup.

Chicago will come back to Minnesota for the highly anticipated Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 21.

Another interesting nugget comes from Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press, who found something the Wild and Vikings have in common.

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