Edmonton Oilers: 5 Must-See Games of the Shortened 2013 Schedule

Adam BowenContributor IIIJanuary 13, 2013

Edmonton Oilers: 5 Must-See Games of the Shortened 2013 Schedule

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    After a long and often bitter labor disruption, the NHL is finally ready to get back to business as usual and for the Edmonton Oilers the shortened 2013 season should be an exciting ride.

    Finally, fans of the team will have the opportunity to see Nail Yakupov, the first overall pick in the 2012-13 entry draft, and Justin Schultz, the highly touted free-agent signing, make their respective debuts for the Oilers.

    A condensed season provides unique challenges for schedule-makers, but here are the five must-see games for any Edmonton Oilers fan. 

January 20 at Vancouver

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    The anticipation of the puck dropping on the Edmonton Oilers' 2013 season will have reached a boiling point as the team finally gets the season underway against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, January 20. 

    With so much young talent, the energy level for the Oilers is sure to be through the roof as the team looks to hit the ground running. 

    The Canucks are quickly becoming one of the Oilers' more intense rivals, so this Northwest Division showdown should be quite the game. 

January 22 vs. San Jose

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    The 2013 home opener is a can't miss game for any Oilers fan and the crowd at Rexall will be loud and ready for hockey to get underway in Edmonton.

    The San Jose Sharks have been a Western Conference powerhouse as of late and should provide quite the test for a young Oilers team.

    For transplanted Oilers fans throughout Canada, this is also the first game of the season that will be televised nationally. 

January 24 vs. Los Angeles

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    What better way to evaluate where your team stands than a game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

    The Oilers welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Rexall in what should be a physical matchup of two teams that feature strong young talent. 

    Though the rivalry between the two teams is not as intense as some others, the Oilers will forever be linked with the Kings since the Wayne Gretzky trade of the '80s. 

January 26 at Calgary

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    This is perhaps the most must-see game of the new season, as it marks the first installment of the Battle of Alberta.

    The Oilers will travel up the Queen Elizabeth No. 2 Highway and face off against the Calgary Flames in a game that is sure to set the tone for the rest of the season.

    With so much history behind the geographic rivals, this should prove to be a great game, showcasing two teams with very different styles of play.

    This is also the first time that the Oilers will be featured on Hockey Night in Canada, the premier hockey broadcast in Canada.

    The two Alberta teams do not square off against each other again until April, so fans won't want to miss this one. 

April 1 vs. Calgary

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    This will be the first time the Oilers and Flames face off against each other in over two months, and marks the beginning of the home stretch of the 2013 season.

    Playoff implications for either team could very well be in the balance at this point in a shortened season, so a victory in this game could prove crucial. 

    Rexall Place will almost certainly be a hostile environment as the Flames visit Edmonton for the first time.