Boston Bruins: Top 6 Nationally Televised Games on the 2012-13 Schedule
It is practically obligatory to address the Zamboni in the room at this time, so let’s just say this is based on a best-case scenario and a timely start to the season.
If all goes according to plan, fans both within and without the Bruins’ media market will have a chance to view up to five Northeast Division games, six Original Six matchups and four nonconference tilts this coming year.
Granted, some of these are being termed “flex games,” but the most enticing cards on Boston’s tentative NBC and NBC Sports Network TV schedule are as follows.
October 11 at Philadelphia
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Opening night will pit the interdivisional rivals at the Wells Fargo Center before the cameras of the NBC Sports Network. Though unlike when the Bruins and Flyers locked twigs to commence the 2011-12 season―and not to downplay what preceded that game―both teams ought to have an easier time starting fresh with this tilt.
November 23 vs. NY Rangers
For the second consecutive season, the local franchise’s time-honored Black Friday matinee will be used in the effort to advance the fledgling NBC Thanksgiving Showdown tradition.
Once again, it will be America’s oldest NHL franchise hosting one of the three members of the three U.S.-based members of the 1926 expansion class.
It will also, for what it’s worth, all but bring just a little Boston-New York symmetry to the channel’s calendar year of sports coverage. It virtually begin with NBC showing the Patriots and Giants in the Super Bowl in the first week of the second month and will end with the same network showing the Bruins and Rangers in the final week of the second-to-last month.
December 10 at Detroit
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The Bruins were one of the few not to take a longshot crack at Detroit’s league-leading home record of 31-7-3 last season. With this visit, the 2011 Stanley Cup champions will have a chance to make a midseason statement as to their long-term contender’s certificate.
January 9 at Buffalo
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The NBC family was nothing short of shrewd to make this the first of potentially three Boston-Buffalo bouts to be beamed beyond New England and New York state.
January 29 vs. St. Louis
The aforementioned Red Wings could very well have been supplanted indefinitely by the Blues as the regal figures in the Central Division.
More to the point of this matchup, the Bruins and Blues are a particularly intriguing nonconference card given their similarities. They have had turns boasting the NHL’s stingiest defenses and goaltending brigades in recent years and rely more on balanced droves than volcanic top-liners for their offense.
March 10 at Washington
If this one happens, it will be the only Bruins-Capitals matchup televised on any NBC channel in the coming regular season. Therefore, it will be the first time a broad U.S. television audience will have seen the matchup since Joel Ward’s overtime goal cut off Boston’s Stanley Cup title defense.
Do not be surprised if, with roughly a month to spare in the regular season, this is being hyped as a potential preview for a rematch in the 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Honorable Mention: March 17 at Pittsburgh
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This is another one of those “flex” matchups, but if it is shown, it should be another one percolating visions of the upcoming playoffs.