Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Centre Bell│Montreal, QC│October 14th
The Montreal Canadiens vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs is the oldest rivalry in the NHL. The rivalry began in 1917 in Toronto. Through the latter half of the twentieth century, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs played each other over a dozen times in the playoffs and five times during the Stanley Cup Finals. Canada is known for its fantastic hockey and legendary NHL players. Montreal and Toronto are Canada’s two largest cities, so the rivalry represents the most populated areas of the enormous country. It’s as historic as it is epic.
The get-in price for Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs is $109. However, the two teams are scheduled to meet three more times (November 18th, March 17th, and April 7th). The lowest overall get-in price for the rivalry matchup is the November 18th game in Montreal at $100.
The Montreal Canadiens, however, are struggling during preseason play. They just finished two games against the Maple Leafs in late September where they did not win a single game. Though fans can shrug it off as preseason issues, it’s still concerning for the regular season ahead. Preseason issues aside, the Canadiens are a formidable force in the league. Founded in 1909, they are the only team that existed before the League formed in 1923. They have won more Stanley Cups than any other franchise with 23 while being part of the NHL. In addition, they are the only NHL team to ever win five Stanley Cups in a row (1956-1960). The Canadiens won their Atlantic division this past season before losing to the New York Rangers in the First Round of the playoffs.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are another major, historic NHL team. They were founded in 1917 and are part of the “Original Six” with the Canadiens. The “Original Six” is a group of six NHL teams that lasted through the Great Depression. The Maple Leafs have also won an onslaught of Stanley Cups, thirteen in total. However, it has been over fifty years since the Maple Leafs have won a Stanley Cup championship. This is the biggest drought in the NHL. They secured a wildcard spot in the 2017 NHL playoffs before losing to Washington Capitals.
Winter Classic: New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres: Citi Field│Flushing, NY│January 1st 2018
The Winter Classic is a beloved NHL tradition that takes a game out of its typical setting. On New Years Day, the Winter Classic is held at a legendary baseball field. The two hockey teams square off in an atypical, chilly setting that makes for a fun way to celebrate the beginning of a new year. This year, the New York Rangers play the Buffalo Sabres at the New York Mets’ Citi Field. This is the tenth anniversary, as the Winter Classic began in Buffalo in 2008. Therefore, the tenth anniversary will bring back the Sabres. It is the Rangers’ second Winter Classic, as well.
The Winter Classic get-in price is $195.
The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first Winter Classic in a shootout. The Sabres established later in NHL history when the league expanded to include fourteen teams in 1970. This is in addition to the Vancouver Canucks that same season. Though they have played in the Stanley Cup Finals twice, the Sabres have lost both times. After missing the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, the Sabres fired both their head coach and general manager. In the offseason, they hired two formed players to replace the head coach and GM positions.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers play their home games at the iconic Madison Square Garden. They are one of three NHL teams in the metropolitan area including the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders. The Rangers joined early on in the creation of the NHL in 1926. They are part of the “Original Six,” as well. In addition, the Rangers were in the first American NHL team to win a Stanley Cup. They have won four Cups in total. In the 2016-2017 season, they won the First Round against the Montreal Canadiens.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: T-Mobile Arena│Las Vegas, NV│December 14th
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are a completely new NHL team set to begin their first season. They are based in the Las Vegas metropolitan area and play home games at T-Mobile Arena. The team is the first major professional sports team to be based in Las Vegas. For all of the city’s notoriety and popularity, it has yet to take a strong foothold in professional sports. This makes the Golden Knights an exciting venture for Sin City. The “knights” aspect of the name is derived from U.S. Military Academy Black Knights. The “gold” stands for Nevada’s largest gold production rate in the country. Though ESPN’s season preview of the newbie team doesn’t look favorable, it’ll be exciting to see the city rally behind the Golden Knights.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the 2017 Stanley Cup Champions and are back this season looking to three-peat their champion status. The Penguins were founded in 1967 and have competed in six Stanley Cup Finals and won five times. After winning both the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup, they are the first back-to-back champions in almost twenty years. They beat the Nashville Predators on the Predators’ home ice during the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. NHL icon and Canadian Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins. As a figurehead for the sport and for the franchise, Crosby is a major factor in the Penguins’ recent success.
The Golden Knights vs. Penguins get-in price is $114. The teams are set to face off one more time on February 6th in Pittsburgh. The get-in price is $120.
New York Rangers vs. Colorado Avalanche: Madison Square Garden│New York, NY│October 5th
The Colorado Avalanche was founded in 1972 originally as the Quebec Nordiques. They joined the NHL in 1979 but relocated to Denver for the 1994-95 season. They play their home games at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. After winning the 1995 Stanley Cup, they became the first NHL team to win during a relocation season. They then won their second Stanley Cup in 2001 against the New Jersey Devils. These wins are the two times that the team has advanced to the Finals. However, the recent season was one of the worst in NHL history. This doesn’t deter fans, as the Avalanche are also known for the all-time longest sell-out streak for home games. The Avalanche also continue a vicious rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings since the mid-’90s.
The Avalanche will play the New York Rangers early this season. The get-in price for the game is $110. However, the teams play once more on January 20th in Denver. The get-in price is extremely low at only $38.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks: T-Mobile Arena│Las Vegas, NV│October 24th
The Chicago Blackhawks were founded in 1926 and have won six Stanley Cups. The Blackhawks are also one of the “Original Six.” Three of the six Stanley Cups were won within the last ten years. This makes the Blackhawks a consistent, formidable opponent. The first decade of the millennium was not as ideal for the Blackhawks. After management and player switches, they resurged in the following decade to once-again become Champions. This included the three semi-recent Stanley Cup wins. In the 2016-2017 season, the Blackhawks were the top seed in the Western Conference. However, the Nashville Predators swept the Blackhawks in the First Round and went on to play in the Finals. It was one of the biggest upsets in NHL playoff history. This does not discount the Blackhawks’ recent success streak. They will be a worthy opponent to any team this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks will play the newbie Vegas Golden Knights in late October. The get-in price is $119. The teams are playing twice more this season on January 5th and February 13th. The lowest overall get-in price is on January 5th in Chicago at $52.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals: Wells Fargo Center – PA│Philadelphia, PA│October 14th
The Philadelphia Flyers are a NHL team that founded in 1967. The Flyers were the first team founded after the “Original Six” to win a Stanley Cup. They won back-to-back Cups in 1974 and 1975. Though they are not an “Original Six” team, the Flyers are tremendously popular with a team symbol known very well throughout hockey fandom. In regards to rivalries, the Flyers vs. Capitals history goes back to the teams’ days in the Patrick Division of the NHL. The Patrick Division lived for nineteen season between 1974 and 1993. It was named after Lester Patrick who was a player and coach of the New York Rangers. The Capitals were not part of the division until 1979. Therefore, the matchup is historically relevant and enjoyable for fans.
During the 2016-2017 season, the Flyers won ten consecutive games in November and December. However, they lost their momentum and missed the playoffs nearing the end of the season. It’s the first instance in which a team has missed the playoffs after winning over ten games straight.
The Washington Capitals are a consistently tough opponent. Typically known as the “Caps,” the team was founded in 1974. They have won ten division titles and one conference championship. In the early 2000’s, the Capitals acquired franchise players including Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Overchkin became the team captain in 2010. However, the team has yet to win a Stanley Cup after years of getting extremely close in the past two decades.
Their latest division championship was last year in the 2016-2017 season. The Capitals choked in post-season play after beating the Maple Leafs during the First Round. They lost against the Penguins after taking the series to the Game 7 in a thrilling finish.
The get-in price is $86, and the teams face off once more on January 31st in Washington D.C. The get-in price is an unbelievable $28.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Boston Bruins: T-Mobile Arena│Las Vegas, NV│October 15th
The Boston Bruins are the league’s third oldest team, but they are the oldest team in the United States. This makes the Bruins’ legacy unbeatable. The Bruins are part of the “Original Six” and have won six Stanley Cups. The most recent Stanley Cup win was in 2011; the first since 1972’s championship. They have won a tremendous 25 division championships and four conference championships.
During last season, the Bruins fired Head Coach Claude Julien partway through the season. Therefore, this threw a tremendous wrench into the remainder of season play without an official coach (interm coach Bruce Cassidy). However, Cassidy led the Bruins to a fantastic record for the rest of the season that allowed the Bruins to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014. The Bruins lost to the Ottawa Senators in the First Round.