NHL Schedule 2012: Highlighting the Most Intriguing Early-Season Games
There are four games on opening night, which is Thursday, October 11. Those matchups are:
- Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers, 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
- Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens, 7:00 p.m. ET on CBC
- Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames, 9:00 p.m. ET on CBC
- St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche, 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will raise their first championship banner the next night against the New York Rangers at Staples Center.
To look at the complete regular-season schedule for every NHL team, click here.
Let's look at the best early-season matchups and hope that a potential lockout doesn't affect any of them.
Rangers at Devils, October 17
The first matchup between these Atlantic Division rivals will be early in the season at the Prudential Center.
After a hard-fought Eastern Conference finals in which the Devils defeated the Rangers in six games, this matchup should be full of bad blood and excitement.
Penguins at Flyers, October 18
These rivals will begin another exciting season series in mid-October in Philadelphia, where both teams will be looking to make an early-season statement.
After the Penguins were embarrassed for much of their first-round series loss to the Flyers this season, they will want to dominate Philadelphia in this game and prove they are the better team.
Since the Flyers were not able to make a deep run in the playoffs for the second straight season, they will be out to prove they are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
This matchup should be full of hatred, goal scoring and intense hockey.
Red Wings at Blackhawks, October 20
These Central Division rivals give hockey fans some of the most entertaining and exciting games each year, and their season series will begin at the United Center on Saturday, October 20.
The Red Wings will likely have a number of different players in important roles next season. Defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart have left the team and their spots on the roster have yet to be filled.
The Blackhawks have a lot to prove this season after two straight first-round playoff exits. They will look to get an early-season confidence-booster against the rival Red Wings in October.
Bruins at Canucks, December 29
The best rivalry in the NHL right now might be the Bruins and Canucks, but since they aren't in the same conference, we're lucky if there are two meetings between these teams per season.
Just like last year, there's only one matchup, but this time it's in Vancouver. It will be the first time that Boston visits Rogers Arena since it won Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
These two teams hate each other and the game is sure to be full of intense action for 60 minutes. If it's anything like this year's regular-season meeting, it should be a game for the ages.
Brad Marchand will likely have to fight someone on the Canucks after he dangerously clipped Sami Salo in the two teams' meeting this past season, which earned him a five-game suspension.
If you love intense, physical hockey, don't miss this game.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. He has covered the Boston Bruins first hand since the 2011 SCF.
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