The start of the NHL regular season may be a month away with the World Cup of Hockey and preseason still to come, but it’s never too early to get excited for the best slate of games the NHL has to offer this season. Here are the can’t miss-games of October:
Oct. 12th – Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators
The puck drops on a new NHL season at 7pm ET in the Canadian capital, as the Sens host the Leafs in a rivalry match-up. With #1 overall pick Auston Matthews and newly acquired keeper Frederik Andersen expected to be among many new faces in the Toronto lineup, the Leafs will have a clean slate as they start the year off against old friend Dion Phaneuf and an Ottawa team looking to get back to the playoffs.
Oct. 12th – Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers
Later that night, the Oilers will open the brand new Rogers Place for it’s first NHL regular-season game, as they welcome their Alberta rivals. Edmonton will definitely be curious to see if the newly-acquired Adam Larsson can help to slow down the Flames’ dynamic duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Leaving behind Rexall Place and the many memories (though few good ones in recent years) they had there, the Oilers will look to start the season off on the right foot in a new building, while Calgary hopes to play spoiler.
October 13th – Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The home opener for the 2015-16 Stanley Cup champs comes against none other than the 2015-16 President’s Trophy winners, as fans are treated to a battle of talent and intensity between two fierce rivals on just Day 2 of the NHL season. Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin will each look to start off strong and lead their teams to victory, as the Penguins begin a title defense and the Capitals begin another long march toward that elusive Stanley Cup championship.
October 20th – San Jose Sharks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins have another big game a week later, this time against their Stanley Cup competitors, the Sharks. The 2016 Stanley Cup final was one of the best in recent memory, with immense speed and talent on both sides and young goalies Martin Jones and Matt Murray standing on their heads. Though nothing can make up for falling short when it mattered most, you can bet that captain Joe Pavelski and the Sharks will be fired up for some revenge in this game.
October 23rd – Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets will get their first taste of outdoor hockey, as they square off against the Oilers in the Heritage Classic. Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, will host the game as these two Canadian teams look to battle it out, and at least put on a better show than the much talked-about Alumni Game.