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2013 NHL Schedule Released: 5 January Games You Must Circle on Your Calendar

Mark JonesSenior Analyst IJune 3, 2016

2013 NHL Schedule Released: 5 January Games You Must Circle on Your Calendar

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    Want hockey?

    Have some hockey.

    The NHL has officially released its shortened 2013 season schedule, which runs from Jan. 19 to Apr. 27 and features 48 games for each team. Opening weekend alone contains 19 games, including three to be nationally televised on NBC.

    A whopping 100 matches will be complete before even January ends, and all of them could prove crucial as every two points matter more than ever.

    With NBC, NBC Sports Net, NHL Network, CBC and RDS all stuffing their TV guides to the brim with cross-continent hockey broadcasts, hockey viewing choices will be a'plenty in the coming weeks. 

    These five January games, however, you just can't afford miss. From the Los Angeles Kings' hoisting of a particularly special banner to a feast of Original Six rivalries, don't make the mistake of passing up on these tantalizing midwinter matchups.

Jan. 19: Penguins vs. Flyers

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    The NHL's beloved cross-Pennsylvania rivals will revive the emotions of their feisty playoff series last April on Opening Day, and the entire eastern half of North America will be watching.

    NBC kicks off the lockout-shortened 2013 season with this 3 p.m. ET doozy on Saturday, Jan. 19, and the storylines will be plentiful enough to fill a novel.

    Will the high-scoring, high-energy pace of last year's memorable postseason showdowns carry over after the lockout?

    Will last summer's new additions—Brandon Sutter and Tomas Vokoun for the Pens, Luke Schenn for the Flyers—make immediate impacts?

    Will an injury-softened Flyers' D hold up against the ever-dangerous Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and friends?

    Will the NHL season kick off with another 72-penalty-minute slugfest, or another 12-goal endless highlight reel?

    However it goes, there's no better way to start a season in style than to put the Flyers and Penguins in the Day One spotlight.

    TV: NBC (3 p.m. ET) (Check local listings for availability)

Jan. 19: Blackhawks vs. Kings

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    Seven months later, the Los Angeles Kings will finally raise the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions banner in the Staples Center.

    Then, five minutes later, they'll face a brutal season-opening test in the Chicago Blackhawks, as top-loaded and as revenge-hungry as ever.

    Think about it—Dustin Brown, or Jonathan Toews? Jeff Carter, or Patrick Kane? Mike Richards, or Marian Hossa? Drew Doughty, or Duncan Keith?

    The (arguably) two best starting lineups in the league will take each other on with the watchful eye of Lord Stanley staring down from above. What could be better?

    TV: NBC (3 p.m. ET) (Check local listings for availability)

Jan. 23: Bruins vs. Rangers

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    Two more Original Six rivals square off in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Jan. 23, as the Boston Bruins take on the New York Rangers.

    With Tuukka Rask now the clear-cut starter in goal, the Bruins will get a good look at how they compare to the Eastern Conference favorites as Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik and the rest of the loaded Rangers try to key on Rask's inexperience.

    Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic have other ideas, though, in a midweek battle that appears inclined to get ugly. 

    It's safe to say that these teams, to put it simply, don't like each other.

    TV: NBC Sports Network (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 25: Wild vs. Red Wings

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    The revamped and revitalized Minnesota Wild, now blessed with 2012 summer additions Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, have dreams of returning to Western Conference glory alongside Central Division rivals Chicago and Detroit.

    A win in their first visit to Hockeytown since stealing Parise from under the Wings' noses would go a long way toward justifying that confidence.

    Starting goalie Nicklas Backstrom, amazingly, didn't play a single minute against Detroit last season, though—and Wings stars Pavel Datsyuk (pending a KHL return), Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen will want make their first meeting in a while a high-scoring one.

    Will Minnesota validate its newfound playoff hopes? Will Detroit keep proving the "they're too old" doubters wrong?

    A week from Friday, those questions might just be answered.

    TV: NHL Network (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 28: Kings vs. Canucks

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    One of the most shocking 2012 postseason series will be revived on Jan. 28 in Vancouver, whether Roberto Luongo is still around or not.

    The Kings, who won the series as an eight-seed in merely five games, are coming off a jaw-dropping Stanley Cup run and feeling confident with a nearly identical lineup returning for this season.

    Meanwhile, the Canucks have been marred with an endless stream of Luongo rumors and the pains of having Keith Ballard's cap hit still on their payroll. They're still the Western Conference regular-season champions of two years running, though, and Cory Schneider is ready to become the NHL's next goaltending icon.

    The West Coast's two best teams (by a mile) will meet just three times this spring, but you can't afford to miss one of the first big tests of two important seasons for both respective franchises.

    TV: TSN (10:30 p.m. ET)

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