On the day it was announced that the Flyers will be taking on Boston in the NHL's third annual Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Fenway Park, 2009-10's other 2,459 regular season games were also released.

The Winter Classic, undoubtedly, is the highlight.

Thanks to a 3-week break in February - so NHLers can participate in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. - the league's matrix takes on a more condensed form this year.

That means months are action packed with games. March features 16 contests for the Flyers. But that is a change that may be welcomed. The Flyers had multiple stretches during last season's schedule with 3, 4 or 5 days off between games.

"If you ask the players, they get tired of practicing and they want to play games," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "They just want to get the rest they need and play games. That's something these guys are used to and they look forward to.

"We've just got to make sure we work when it's time to work and we give the guys rest when they need to get rest and we're extremely busy playing games."

The Flyers will open their season on Friday, Oct. 2 in Raleigh, N.C., when they face the Hurricanes. Their home opener is just 4 days later on Oct. 6 against Washington at the Wachovia Center.

The schedule, which includes 21 games on Saturdays and just eight on both Mondays and Wednesdays, features 24 games against the Flyers' four divisional rivals. That includes six games against the Stanley Cup champion Penguins. The Flyers were 13-7-4 against Atlantic Division opponents last season.

The longest road trip of their 43rd season in franchise history - a six-games-in-12-days swing - will take place from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, when Disney on Ice visits the Wachovia Center.

The Flyers will also face all 15 Western Conference teams over 18 games.