NHL Opening Night: Previewing the 3 Opening Games of the 2011 Season

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NHL Opening Night: Previewing the 3 Opening Games of the 2011 Season
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 2011/12 regular season officially gets underway tonight, and with that come three marquee matchups on the NHL schedule. First the NHL has the defending Stanley Cup Champions opening up against the new look, and potential Eastern Conference champ contenders, Philadelphia Flyers in a tough battle that is sure to be entertaining.

Next up is an Original Six matchup, and legendary rivalry game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. This should give us a good look at how the two teams will shape up in the upcoming months and if the Leafs will actually be playoff contenders in 2011/12.

Lastly, we round out a terrific evening of hockey with the Sidney Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the still hurting Vancouver Canucks who are coming off that Game 7 loss to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals a mere four months ago. The Canucks are aiming to go the way that the Pens of 2009 did and come off a Stanley Cup loss to win it the next season, so it is very fitting they start the year against Pittsburgh.

The NHL did a fantastic job of scheduling these opening night games, and they are sure to gain some new fans tonight.

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