As the 2016-17 season approaches, it’s time to start marking off your calendars with the most important Bruins games of the season. With 82 regular-season games – 41 of them at TD Garden – on the docket, there are plenty to choose from. But here are a few that caught our eye:
October 20 vs. New Jersey
The Bruins get back in front of the Black & Gold faithful in the home opener against New Jersey. It will be just the second time in franchise history that the Bruins open their home schedule with a tilt against the Devils. The first came in 2003-04, a game that resulted in a 3-3 tie. Last season, the Bruins took two of three from New Jersey.
October 22 vs. Montreal
Ah, yes, the Habs. It won’t take long for the greatest rivalry in hockey – and maybe all of sports – to be renewed, as the teams meet for the first time just two days after the Bruins home opener. Last year, the teams split four meetings, with Montreal prevailing in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium.
December 31 vs. Buffalo
It’s not quite the Winter Classic, but the Bruins will still be ringing in the New Year with some matinee hockey – albeit indoors. The B’s host Buffalo for a 1 p.m. tilt on New Year’s Eve, leaving fans plenty of time to get home and enjoy the evening festivities.
November 22 vs. St. Louis
Newcomer David Backes faces off against his old team for the first time when the Blues make their lone trip to TD Garden two days before Thanksgiving. The forward spent his entire 10-year NHL career – five of them as captain – with St. Louis before signing a five-year contract with the Bruins in July.
January 20 vs. Chicago
Like any Boston-Montreal showdown, there always seems to be a little extra buzz in the building when the Blackhawks visit, despite the fact that it has been nearly four years since the Bruins met Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final. When Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews meet Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, it is still hockey at its finest.
January 26 vs. Pittsburgh
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the rest of the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins come to town for their only visit in the final game before the All-Star break. Last season, the Bruins won all three meetings, by a combined score of 14-3.
April 8 vs. Washington
The Bruins close out the regular season with eight of their last 10 games at TD Garden, including the season finale against the Capitals, the best team in the Eastern Conference last season. As was the case with last year’s final game, much could be on the line in this one.