10 Early Season NHL Matchups That Are Must-See
NHL: 10 Must-See Early Season Matchups
The NHL season has started with a bang.
There are teams that have been surprisingly good and teams that are surprisingly bad. Coming up on the two week point of the season, there are some fans who don't know what it is like to win with their current team. On the other side, some fans don't know what it is like to lose. It is the most exciting and most over reactionary time in the season.
It is hard to tell who is actually good and who still needs some work. There is this mask that makes certain teams look and play better than they actually are. They may have a soft schedule to start the season or just have luck on their side. There are also teams that get no bounces. They play well, but one bad play ruins 60 minutes of work.
The NHL is looking to build on playing a full season. Their ratings were as good as ever last season. They had the matchups they wanted in the playoffs to get people to watch. The only thing missing was a team for the New York market.
There are some early season matchups that are must-see TV, and they include games with some of the most exciting players the league has to offer. They range from tomorrow to the end of the month. These are the games you point to when you want to try to get your non-hockey fan friends (for those of you that still have them, for whatever reason) into the greatest sport on Earth. These ten games should be marked on your calendar for the rest of the season.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also contributes to the site's NFL and MLB content. Follow him on Twitter here.
Monday, October 14: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins
The first game could be the biggest. This may have been the most intriguing new division rivalry of the re-aligned NHL divisions. The Eastern Conference champions take on the Detroit Red Wings in Boston. It will be a hard-nosed, well-played game that will show that old-school type of hockey. This is a must watch for the passion that comes from the veterans in this game.
Wednesday, October 16: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
When you have Alexander Ovechkin and Rick Nash on the same ice, then it is automatically a must-see game. Add in the slight element of desperation for both teams and you have a very interesting watch. The New York Rangers have been embarrassed so far this season. The Washington Capitals welcome them in the middle of their nine game road trip to start the season. They are currently tied for seventh in the division, both sporting only one win.
Thursday, October 17: Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers have not had the start of the season they were looking for. After they surprisingly fired Peter Laviolette, they still have only won one out their three games. That doesn't matter here. Their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Penguins is the most vicious in the sport, maybe even all sports. Their vitriol for the team and the city is unmatched. The fans boo Sidney Crosby more than any other city. It will surely be a good one, no matter how bad the Flyers are.
Saturday, October 19: Toronto Maple Leafs at Chicago Blackhawks
The Stanley Cup Champions welcome the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs to the United Center for a matchup between Eastern and Western top teams. The Leafs' Jonathan Bernier has quickly taken over the starting goalie role. Although it wasn't the start they had last season, the Chicago Blackhawks are still keeping strides in their division. This should be a high scoring affair with stars like Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane leading the way.
Monday, October 21: Calgary Flames at Los Angeles Kings
The Calgary Flames have gone through their first five games without a regulation loss, but they will get severely tested when they travel to visit the Los Angeles Kings. Dustin Brown and his squad will look to reveal this team and prove a way to beat them. The Flames will look to show they belong.
Wednesday, October 23: Ottawa Senators at Detroit Red Wings
The Ottawa Senators are playing with possibly the best goalie in the league in Craig Anderson. The Red Wings will look to humble him. The Senators made a splash when they brought in former Anaheim Duck Bobby Ryan. These teams are both looking to gain an advantage in the Atlantic Division.
Friday, October 25: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins
This is a rematch of the very exciting first round matchup from last season. There is no Tomas Vokoun to save the Penguins this time. This shows some of the best talent in the league when the Pens' Crosby and Evgeni Malkin take on John Tavares and Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders. Star power is what to watch for in this game.
Saturday, October 26: San Jose Sharks at Montreal Canadiens
The San Jose Sharks have been in the news lately after scoring an unprecedented nine goals against the Rangers. They are led by Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture to an undefeated record. The Montreal Canadiens have played well in their new division. They are led by defenseman P.K. Subban and tied for second in the division. Are the Sharks really this dominant? Can the Canadiens stay afloat in a tough division?
Sunday, October 27: Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche are the biggest surprise in the league. They take on former division foe Anaheim. Can they ride Nathan MacKinnon to a continuous perfect record? Will they still be rolling at this point?
Wednesday, October 30: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins
This may be the biggest matchup in the young NHL season. It is a rematch of a sore Eastern Conference Finals for the Penguins. They play the man who spurned the Bruins for them in Jarome Iginla. The Pens will look to make up for a very bad playoff series in this game.