The Top 5 'Must See' Games on the Montreal Canadiens 2014-15 Schedule
Any Habs-Leafs game is worth watching, but add to it the fact that it's opening night, and Oct. 8 is definitely a must see.
Other dates that fans will want to clear their schedules for includes games against their 2013-14 playoff opponents, and a trip back to the Bell Centre for a couple of veterans that switched teams in the offseason.
Here are the top five must-see games on the Montreal Canadiens 2014-15 schedule.
All stats and schedule information from NHL.com.
Honorable Mention. Nov. 22: Canadiens at Bruins
This won't be the first time these two rivals clash during the 2014-15 season, but it will be the first time they play in Boston. And you can bet it's going to be a very hostile environment.
Fans in Boston still have a bitter taste in their mouths after the underdog Canadiens knocked off the Bruins in seven games in Round 2 of the 2014 playoffs. That win will still be on their minds come Nov. 22.
The Boston crowd love to jeer P.K. Subban, and his shiny new contract will serve as extra bait. They'll boo him mercilessly each time he touches the puck, and he'll hear about each and every little mistake.
Montreal-Boston games are always fun, but Montreal's first return to Boston in 2014-15 makes this one extra special. Don't miss it.
5. Nov. 29: Sabres at Canadiens
Canadiens-Sabres games haven't been overly exciting in the past couple of seasons, mostly due to the irrelevance of the Buffalo franchise. But a couple offseason moves will make Buffalo's first trip to Montreal special.
Two-thirds of Montreal's letters from 2013-14 will be suiting up for the Sabres this season.
Former captain Brian Gionta signed a three-year contract with Buffalo after not being re-upped by Montreal. Former alternate-captain Josh Gorges was traded to the Sabres in exchange for a second-round pick.
Both players were popular in Montreal, which should make their return to the Bell Centre worth seeing. Montreal fans are known to give warm ovations to returning players who were well liked.
On the ice, things won't be as friendly as the two division rivals fight for two points at the end of a home-and-home series. It has the makings of a good Saturday night game early in the season.
4. April 11: Canadiens at Maple Leafs
Montreal will close out the season in Toronto on April 11. Depending on what happens during the first 81 games, this could be the No. 1 must-see game of the season, or it could be completely irrelevant.
If there are any playoff implications at stake, you won't want to miss this one. Either team could be fighting for their playoff lives, jockeying for home-ice advantage in the playoffs, or perhaps even battling for the division title.
It's also entirely possible that this game means nothing. One where the teams rest their starters before the playoffs, or one where the teams have already been eliminated.
It's far too early to tell, but finishing the regular-season schedule in Toronto does leave the door open for a must-see ending to the 2014-15 season.
3. Oct. 25: Rangers at Canadiens
The Canadiens and Rangers haven't exactly been known as bitter rivals in recent years. But last year's Eastern Conference Final certainly helped create some bad blood between the two Original Six teams.
The Rangers knocked off the Canadiens in six games, ending their upstart playoff run. The Habs will have that on their mind as motivation—and probably a little more.
Chris Kreider will certainly hear it from the Montreal faithful after he knocked Carey Price out of the playoffs when sliding into the crease in Game 1. It's also fair to wonder if someone like Brandon Prust might have something up his sleeve for Kreider.
The Rangers will also be thinking about a questionable play from the ECF, when Prust broke Derek Stepan's jaw with a hit in Game 3. Stepan has said he forgives Prust, via Tal Pinchevski at NHL.com, but his teammates likely don't.
The Canadiens-Rangers playoff series was entertaining hockey last spring, and this one should be no different. Tune in on Oct. 25.
2. Oct. 8: Canadiens at Maple Leafs
Oct. 8: It's opening night in the NHL. It also means Toronto vs. Montreal. What a great way to open the season.
Montreal-Toronto games are always fun to watch. Last season, the teams opened the year with a very entertaining match, with Toronto taking a 4-3 win in which the teams combined for 75 shots on goal.
The teams split the next two games, with Montreal winning, 4-2, and Toronto, 5-3. The Canadiens then took the next two games by scores of 4-3, winning the season series three games to two.
Opening-night games can be sloppy at times as teams try to figure out new teammates and systems, but the fact that this is Montreal vs. Toronto will make up for that. Puck drop is just five weeks away.
1. Oct. 16: Bruins at Canadiens
Mark this one on your calendar, if you haven't already: The Boston Bruins make their first trip to the Bell Centre on Oct. 16.
In fact, while you're at it, you should also mark down Nov. 13, Nov. 22 and Feb. 8. Those are the dates of all the Habs-Bruins games in 2014-15.
Boston is Montreal's biggest rival. Montreal is Boston's biggest rival. It's that simple.
But let's add a few things to an already-bitter feud that makes all regular-season games feel like it's the playoffs.
First, Montreal upset the top-ranked Bruins in seven games last year in the playoffs.
Second, Milan Lucic allegedly threatened to kill Dale Weise during the post-series handshake, via Sean Fitz-Gerald at The National Post.
And third, Brad Marchand stated publicly this offseason that he "hates" Tomas Plekanec more than any other player in the NHL, as Rory Boylen of The Hockey News reported.
This is going to be fun.
The NHL scheduler has the Canadiens playing the Bruins three times before the calendar even reaches December. Those are some big points up for grabs early in the season. It all starts Oct. 16.
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