IIIIT'S A HOCKEY NIGHT, FINALLY! [NHL Opening Day Live Thread]
Get ready for a sprint to the Stanley Cup, 48 games against only your own conference. It looks to be 4 games against your division and 3 against each team in the other 2 divisions of your respective conference. For Opening Day we have a full slate of games, from the raising of the Stanley Cup banner at Staples Center in LA to the battle of the Keystone State and everywhere in between. It's a great day for hockey, now let's get this party started once and for all! In the words of Mike Lange, "Hop in the Cordoba baby," we're off and running. The FanIQ train has stops in 13 cities this afternoon and tonight...ALL ABOARD!
We begin in LA where the reigning champs begin their quest for a repeat. I'm sure our favorite Q teacher is out there waiting to see that banner raised into the rafters. The Kings play host to the Blackhawks in a battle of 2 Western Conference powerhouses.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Los Angeles Kings - 3:00 PM ET - NBC
We got 2 other games starting at the same time, and we have to go coast to coast, so let's not waste any time! Our next stop is the city of brotherly love as the Flyers and Pens face off in a rematch of last year's playoff series. Both teams have new faces, but which high-powered offense will come out on top? For PA, this season couldn't have started any more perfectly than scheduling the Keystone battle right off the bat!
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers - 3:00 PM ET - NBC
Get back on this train quick, we're off to Winnipeg as the Jets play host to the Senators. Ottawa can outscore a lot of teams, and the Jets want to make their fans happy by returning to postseason competition. Can Ondrej Pavelec stop the explosive Sens? I think this one comes down to the goalies.
Ottawa Senators @ Winnipeg Jets - 3:00 PM ET - CBC, RDS
We have a slight break for dinner before we head off to Beantown for a 7:00 face off that features an Original Six matchup, Bruins and Rangers. These 2 teams are both going to be great to watch, especially the Rangers with Rick Nash added to an already extremely talented offense.
New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins - 7:00 PM ET - NHL Network, MSG
2 more Original Six teams play each other at 7:00 also, and north of the border. The Habs and Leafs both want better outcomes than last year, in fact Montreal can't go anywhere but up. Which of these two teams will get started on the right foot?
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens - 7:00 PM ET - CBC, RDS
Quickly let's return south of the border and head down to Tampa where another fierce rivalry will take place. This is my pick for game of the night as Ovechkin and Stamkos go head-to-head in a battle of 2 of the best players in the league today. Bolts and Caps, don't miss it!
Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning - 7:00 PM ET - CSN Washington, SUN
One more game begins at 7:00 and it's the reigning Eastern Conference champs traveling to Long Island. Marty Brodeur is still kickin' and the Isles want to try like hell to get back to the glory days. Is this the year they finally right the ship, or are they still muddling?
New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders - 7:00 PM ET - MSG+2, MSG+
We have a half hour to go from New York to Miami, let's go! The Panthers will host the Hurricanes who look like a very dangerous team this year, so many new faces including the Staal brothers playing together. Are Jordan and Eric going to team up and become a nightmare for opposing goalies?
Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers - 7:30 PM ET - FSN Carolina, FSN Florida
Our next stop takes us to the gateway city as the Blues host the Wings who lost 2 longtime faces to retirement. Will the magic of last year return for the Blues? Or will the Wings take back the division crown? This will be a fun game to watch.
Detroit Red Wings @ St. Louis Blues - 8:00 PM ET - FSN Detroit, FSN Midwest
Music City USA is our next stop, and in the words of our very own Eric (gearhead)...WOOF! If Nashville doesn't end this game in the first period something's wrong.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nashville Predators - 8:00 PM ET - FSN Ohio, FSN Tennessee
There's a new face in Dallas, a future hall of famer. His name...Jaromir Jagr. You heard me, #68 is playing on a team in the west for the first time in his career. The Stars will look to start strong and keep the motor running unlike last year's model of inconsistency. They host the Coyotes who should be very dangerous again.
Phoenix Coyotes @ Dallas Stars - 8:00 PM ET - FSN Arizona, FSN Southwest
We're headed up to Frostbite Falls for our next stop...okay not quite, but we are going to Minnesota. It's gonna be a wild night in the Twin Cities as the Wild host the Avs. With landing the 2 biggest free agents, are the Wild the team to watch for this year?
Colorado Avalanche @ Minnesota Wild - 9:00 PM ET - Altitude, FSN North
Our night capper is north of the border where Luongo and company host the Ducks. Can Bruce Boudreau work his magic with the Ducks to get them to the playoffs? It's never easy to beat Roberto and the Sedin Twins on their home ice, but it's happened before. I wanna see this game!
Anaheim Ducks @ Vancouver Canucks - 10:00 PM ET - CBC, FSN West
This is your official live thread to talk (or bitch) about the game(s) you're watching this afternoon and into the night. What matchup are you most looking forward to watching? I'll be glued to the Pens for sure, but all I care about is that the players are all back on the ice!