The Blue Jackets' 82-game regular season journey is set: 41 home, 41 on the road, and hopefully, with another chapter to be written in the postseason.
The Blue Jackets will open their 2015-16 campaign on Friday, Oct. 9, when the New York Rangers (you may have heard of them) come to Nationwide Arena. So, in anticipation for what is sure to be an exciting season, let’s check out a few of the home games that you definitely won’t want to miss. Opening Night
Friday, Oct. 9 – New York Rangers
In the first game of the Blue Jackets’ 2015-16 season, fans return to Nationwide Arena in their Nick Foligno sweaters, many of which (presumably) will have a newly-sewn letter “C” on the chest. If you don't have one already, our friends at the FS Ohio Blueline store can help you out.
Last year, the 2014-15 season, the Blue Jackets hosted the Rangers for the home opener at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 11, and it was an authoritative 5-2 win for the home team.
The action against this Original Six team and division rival is always fun to watch. It’s important to note that this opening game will serve as the first of two back-to-back games against the Rangers. The Blue Jackets will travel to New York to take on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden the following evening, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m., in their own home opener. Friday, Nov. 27 – Pittsburgh Penguins
There’s nothing quite like Friday night hockey downtown Columbus, and it's even better when the folks from down I-70 come to visit. In a short period of time, the rivalry between these two teams has become one of the most heated in the Metro. In what turned out to be an exciting run, the Blue Jackets pushed the Penguins to a six-game series during the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blue Jackets won three of the four meetings with Pittsburgh in 2014-15.
The Penguins will visit twice, and it will be interesting to see how captain Sidney Crosby and a team of NHL stars (Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang, just to name a few) will fare against the Blue Jackets' four-line, forechecking style. Another aspect of this game will be the goalie showdown between two of the best in the NHL: Sergei Bobrovsky and Marc-Andre Fleury.
This game will serve as an early test for the Blue Jackets as they go against one of the Metro Division teams that bulked up in the summer. Add that to what is sure to be a sold-out crowd, and this is absolutely one game that you will not want to miss. Saturday, Dec. 19 – Philadelphia Flyers
An unlikely rivalry was fueled the day that long-time Flyers favorite Scott Hartnell was traded from Philadelphia to Columbus in exchange for R.J. Umberger. Hartnell had an instant impact in Columbus, scoring 28 goals in his first season while adding a much-needed layer of secondary offense.
The Blue Jackets came out on top the last two times the teams met during the 2014-15 season. On Feb. 13, 2015, the Blue Jackets beat the Flyers in overtime, and then on Feb. 17, Matt Calvert scored the game-winning goal in a 5-2 win at Wells Fargo Center.
With so many storylines and a budding division rivalry in store, this is one matchup that should be on your must-see list in 2015-16. Trust us on this one. Saturday, Apr. 9 – Chicago Blackhawks
This game marks the lone visit by former Central Division rival and 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. As they say, save the best for last, right? And that is exactly how the schedule turned out. For the final game of the regular season, the most recently crowned Stanley Cup champs will come down to Columbus for an exciting Saturday night showdown. And if it's anything like the most recent meetings between these two teams, this one should be a dandy.
Brandon Saad will take on his former team for the first time at Nationwide Arena, and a few familiar faces who formely wore Blue Jackets sweaters will be sporting the Blackhawks colors (admittedly, this will be weird).
In addition to being a fun game to watch, this game could have playoff implications for both the Blue Jackets and the Blackhawks.