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Pittsburgh Penguins Schedule 2013: 10 Games You Can't Miss

Michael PrunkaCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2013

Pittsburgh Penguins Schedule 2013: 10 Games You Can't Miss

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    The 2012-13 NHL lockout scratched interconference games, but the Pittsburgh Penguins still have plenty of phenomenal matches on their 48-game schedule. From their classic feud with the Washington Capitals to chances to redeem their playoff exit against the Philadelphia Flyers, there are many awesome games to look forward to.

    The Atlantic Division provides the Penguins with great competition during this abbreviated season. They’ll have the chance to challenge other powerhouses like the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

    Other teams in the Eastern Conference should provide the Penguins with entertaining games, too. The Boston Bruins are always a great foe and the Carolina Hurricanes made great offseason moves that should make them a decent threat.

    The lockout may have cost the league half the season, but Penguins fans are lucky to keep a lot of their classic games.

    Here are 10 Penguins games you can’t miss.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers

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    When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 3:00 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NBC

    Jan. 19 is the day NHL fans have been anticipating for months.

    NBC is hosting a monumental season-opening weekend. One of the marquee matchups included is a matinee game in which the Flyers host the Penguins.

    This season opener is a huge contest for both sides. The Penguins are looking for a chance to redeem themselves after the Flyers sent them packing after six games in the 2012 playoffs.

    The offseason acquisition of Brandon Sutter should help the Penguins defend their own zone better than they did in the playoffs.

    If this game is anything like their playoff series, Penguins vs. Flyers will be a very entertaining way to kick off the NHL season.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

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    When: Sunday, Jan. 20, 7:00 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NHL Network

    The Penguins will travel from Philadelphia to New York to meet the Rangers in their season opener.

    Rangers fans will pack Madison Square Garden to see their team take the ice for the first time since their disappointing loss to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference finals.

    Penguins vs. Rangers is but one divisional rivalry NHL fans are anxiously awaiting to see again. Both sides are favorites to win the Stanley Cup. This game should be a good indicator of how each team’s season will play out.

    It wouldn’t be surprising if this regular-season meeting is a preview of a 2013 playoff series.

New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins

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    When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 1:00 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NHL Network

    In their third game on home ice, the Penguins will host a divisional foe and the reigning Eastern Conference champions in the New Jersey Devils.

    The Penguins have retained most of their offensive superstars while the Devils lost Zach Parise, arguably their top star, to the Minnesota Wild. It should be interesting to watch who steps up to fill that void for the Devils.

    Both teams play a very aggressive game, especially in the offensive zone. The Devils’ strong forecheck was one facet of their game that brought them so close to winning the Stanley Cup.

    These two teams will meet two more times in the month of February. 

Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals

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    When: Sunday, Feb. 3, 12:30 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NBC

    The Penguins and Capitals have always had one of the NHL’s most entertaining feuds. Their classic matchup was highlighted in-depth during the build to the 2011 NHL Winter Classic.

    Pittsburgh will travel deep into enemy territory for the first meeting of this rivalry.

    Hockey fans all around the world will be anxiously awaiting the first time Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin stand opposite each other. Thankfully, this Sunday afternoon game will be seen across the nation on NBC.

    Under new head coach Adam Oates, the Caps should return to the more offensively focused style that won them the Presidents' Trophy a few seasons ago.

    This will be a great showcase of two of the NHL’s best offensive clubs.

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins

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    When: Thursday, Feb. 7, 7:00 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NHL Network

    Just four days after their first meeting of the season, the Capitals will travel to Pittsburgh for another installation of their rivalry.

    There are a lot of great interdivisional games on the Penguins schedule, but it will be hard to match the passion on display when the Penguins and Capitals are on the ice together.

    The home-ice setting will only amplify the emotions for Pittsburgh fans.

    This February matchup is still early in the 2013 season. Their final meeting on March 19 should be a better indicator of whether or not we’re watching a preview of a Stanley Cup playoffs series.

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

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    When: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NBC Sports Network

    The Penguins and Flyers will face off again for the first time since the season opener. This time the Penguins will have the home-ice advantage.

    This game will be the second of four games in this spectacular rivalry.

    As they approach the midway mark of the season, this game should be a benchmark for both sides and should indicate how the playoffs might look.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins

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    When: Monday, March 4, 7:30 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NBC Sports Network

    This midseason match between the Lightning and Penguins shouldn’t be overlooked. Both sides boast explosive offensive players, making this a must-see event.

    Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos led the NHL with 60 goals scored in the 2011-12 season—10 more than Art Ross Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin.

    The Penguins will be moving on without Jordan Staal. That said, the club retained most of its offensive All-Stars. Malkin and James Neal will remain linemates, and the successful duo of Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz will reunite.

    They made a few moves to improve their defensive core, but strong offense is still a cornerstone of the Penguins’ game. This matchup should be a good way to gauge exactly how powerful the team’s goal scorers are this season.

Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins

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    When: Sunday, March 17, 12:30 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NBC

    This game is the second of three games against the Northeast Division powerhouse Boston Bruins. This massive showdown of top Eastern Conference teams will be the last of the Penguins’ nationally televised games.

    As the NHL gets deeper into the second half of the season, this match will be yet another indicator of where two top Stanley Cup contenders are headed.

    The Bruins and Penguins both suffered disappointing first-round eliminations in the 2012 playoffs. Both teams will be looking to build momentum as the 2013 playoffs rapidly approach.

    Finally, this game is the second of a massive homestand for the Penguins. They will be coming off a home game against the Rangers the afternoon before and will be looking forward to hosting the Capitals the following Tuesday.

    This three-game series of home games, specifically this big contest against the Bruins, could set the tone for the remainder of the Penguins’ season.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils

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    When: Thursday, April 25, 7:30 p.m. ET

    TV Info: NBC Sports Network

    This game will be the final Atlantic Division game and the penultimate game of the Penguins’ regular season.

    With all the talent between the Penguins, Rangers and Devils, it wouldn’t be shocking if there was a tight race for the division title. There is a chance this road game could be a big deciding factor in where the Penguins finish in the Atlantic Division.

    Even if this game doesn’t do much to decide how the Atlantic Division looks at the end of the season, a big road-game victory will help the Penguins pick up momentum heading into their final game and the playoffs.

Carolina Hurricanes at Pittsburgh Penguins

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    When: Saturday, April 27, 7:00 p.m. ET

    TV Info: N/A

    The Penguins return home for their final game of the abbreviated 2013 season. They will host a potentially dangerous team in the Carolina Hurricanes.

    The Hurricanes made plenty of great moves in the offseason. They signed free agent Alexander Semin and acquired Jordan Staal from the Penguins on draft day.

    In the trade that sent Staal to the Hurricanes, the Penguins acquired center Brandon Sutter. This final game of the season will identify which team really got the most out of the trade.

    Sutter has a lot to live up to. He won’t be able to match Staal’s offensive output, but he brings a defensive mindset that the Penguins need. Staal’s new role with the Hurricanes could be the catalyst for a breakout season for the young center.

    Just like the game against the Devils, the Penguins will be seeking to build momentum heading into the postseason.

     

    Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist. Stay up to date with him by liking his Facebook page and following him on Twitter.


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