The two most recent Stanley Cup winners, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, will be featured Thursday night as Versus completes its coverage of the opening day of the 2010-11 NHL regular season by televising a pair of games.
The Penguins, who won the Cup in 2009, will be the hosts of the first half of the evening doubleheader when they open the new Consol Energy Center against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7 p.m. ET. The Penguins dominated the regular-season series between the teams last season, winning five of the six games. But the Flyers, not the Penguins, were the Eastern Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Final -- they beat Montreal in the Eastern Finals after the Canadiens had knocked off Pittsburgh in the conference semifinals.
The Blackhawks, who beat the Flyers in six games to win the Stanley Cup, open defense of their championship in the second game when they visit the Colorado Avalanche at 10 p.m. ET. Oddly enough, the Hawks also played their final road game of 2009-10 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, winning 5-2. But the Blackhawks have never fared particularly well in Denver, posting an 8-16-2-1 record there since the Avalanche franchise moved from Quebec in 1995. The Avs, a surprise playoff qualifier last season, are tying to build on their 26-point improvement from 2008-09, when they finished last in the Western Conference.