Ten games that should matter to every Bruins fan
Alright, so this is an idea directly stolen from this posting about the 10 most important regular season games for the San Jose Sharks. As the Stanley Cup champion, there are a lot of dates in the 2011-2012 calendar to look forward to in terms of rivalries with teams they faced during the playoffs and the like. So, many of these may seem very straightforward, some may be a little more out there. Not everyone can watch every game, and with 82, sometimes you have to pace yourself. I was among the wild ones last year that watched nearly every single regular season game, save for a two-week respite in which I was in the Czech Republic. I listened in to a 98.5 SportsHub internet feed at work sometimes, too. But if there are some games you had to circle in a red pen, these are them. A handy guide!
But here it goes.
October 6, 2011, 7pm. Flyers @ Bruins
Okay, okay, this is a gimme. It’s the home opener, and the first game for the Bruins to boot. They’ll be raising the banner to the rafters, and their arch-rival Broad Street Bullies will be there, with Jagr in tow. It’ll be a spectacular game. The Flyers sans Carter and Richards will be a markedly different outfit from the one the Bruins faced this spring. And a whole new face in net–whoa! But it’ll be an emotion-packed game.
October 15, 2011, 8:30pm. Bruins @ Blackhawks
2010 and 2011 Champs collide! The Bruins smoked the Hawks in their last meeting this spring in Boston. But the Blackhawks were already hurting and depleted by that time.
October 18, 2011, 7pm. Hurricanes @ Bruins
Tomas Kaberle returns as a Cane. I fully expect a standing-O for him on his first shift out.
November 26, 2011, 7pm. Jets @ Bruins
Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart return for the first time to Boston, except now donning Jets jerseys instead of Thrashers ones. These were two hardworking Bruins that were shipped at the deadline, and while they were not a part of the Cup-winning team and won’t have their names engraved on it or anything like that, they had something to do with it.
December 6, 2011, 8:30pm. Bruins @ Jets
Alright, yes, another Jets game. I know, they’re basically still the Thrashers, maybe worse. But this time I am excited to see my first game live out of Winnipeg. That’s kind of awesome and novel. Every team in the NHL should be excited about that.
January 7, 2012, 1pm. Canucks @ Bruins
Get your engines started. No explanation required. Entirely possible Bruins will be smashed to oblivion here, but if Luongo is still in net (and how could Vigneault subject him to that?) maybe the opposite will happen.
January 16, 2012, 7:30 pm. Bruins @ Panthers
By January, the mish-mashed rag-tag Panthers will have gelled (or not) and an easy southern road-trip could prove to be otherwise for the Bruins. I am excited to see the Panthers as a team, and how their arena looks. Hopefully it’s a little fuller and there’s more boisterous action to be had!
February 4, 2012, 1pm. Penguins @ Bruins
Penguins v. Bruins games have generally been fairly spectacular the last couple of years, with nail-biter finishes. I expect nothing less of this matinee.
February 15, 2012, 7:30pm. Bruins @ Canadiens
It’ll be a little less than a year since the Pacioretty incident. It will also be Trade Deadline time. And the Northeast Division race will start narrowing, too. A Wednesday night in Montreal under such circumstances will make for some good hockey.
April 1, 2012, 3pm. Bruins @ Rangers
Afternoon games at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers always seem to get out of control. Something about Sundays and the afternoon, I don’t know. But I expect, fully, that this game will be a doozy.