If you are reading these words, it’s safe to say that you will likely watch most, if not all, of the Flyers games in 2013-14 that were released in the schedule yesterday.
But when you try to consume all 82 games at once, it can certainly be overwhelming.
That’s why I decided to narrow it down to a top 10 list of games that are so “can’t miss” this season that they are worth skipping the game in HD to make sure you are actually at the Wells Fargo Center for a game.
Here they are, in chronological order:
1.Toronto Maple Leafs, 10/2/13 – It’s the season opener and a chance to erase the bitterness of last season completely with the start of a new campaign. The beginning of a new season is exciting for every team really, so there will be a definite buzz in the Wells Fargo Center that night. But, it will be extra entertaining as it’ll be Vinny Lecavalier’s first game as a Flyer. Ditto Mark Streit. The Leafs are a tough, talented team to boot and there’s always that Luke Schenn-James van Riemsdyk debate to continue to chew on.
2.Pittsburgh Penguins, 10/17/13 – the best rivalry going in the NHL resumes on this night in the first of five meetings between the two Metropolitan Division (really NHL?) franchises. Believe me when I tell you there is nothing like watching Flyers-Pens in person – whether in Philadelphia or in Pittsburgh. If you are a hockey junkie, it’s a must-see experience. If you can’t make it on 10/17 the only other time the Pens are in Philly is 3/15/14.
|Scott Hartnell really knows how to feul the rivalry with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kris Letang (right) once accused Hartnell of biting him! |
3.New York Rangers, 10/24/13 – While the finishing touches are made to the three-year renovation of Madison Square Garden, the Rangers will be nearing the end of a month-long road trip when they meet up with the Flyers in the first of four meetings. Rangers-Flyers is almost on the same level of intensity as Penguins-Flyers, just with a different style. Games against the Penguins seem to be more wide open, with a lot of skating, scoring and chances, while games against the Rangers are tough, mean and have a whole lot of nasty to them. Like the Penguins, the Rangers return for one more visit in the second half of the season. (3/1/14).
4.Washington Capitals, 11/1/13 – It’s nice to have the Capitals back in the Flyers division again as the storied rivals will be the one Metropolitan Division team to come to the Wells Fargo Center three times this season (more on realignment tomorrow). Reigning Hart Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin still leads the way for the Caps, who kind of slipped off the radar in Philadelphia playing in the old Southeast Division, but will once again be in the crosshairs of the fan base now that they’re back in the division for the first time since 1998.
5.Ottawa Senators, 11/19/13 – Every summer and then again every trade deadline, it seems the most prevalent question from fans is, “Can the Flyers trade for Bobby Ryan?” The answer was always “probably not,” but the faithful were persistent because Ryan grew up in South Jersey. Well, he was traded by the Anaheim Ducks this summer, but not to Philly, but instead the Senators. Ryan has only played in Philadelphia twice in has career, but he’ll be back more regularly now that he’s in Ottawa. He makes his one visit to the Wells Fargo Center just before Thanksgiving, a homecoming of sorts.
|Now on the other side, Danny Briere returns to Philly with the Habs December 12. |
6.Montreal Canadiens, 12/12/13 – Put a big orange circle around this date on the calendar as it marks the return of beloved former Flyer Danny Briere. The Flyers actually get to paly against their old friend in the second game of the season in Montreal (Oct. 5) but this marks his return to Philadelphia. Briere will make an encore trip with the Habs on Jan. 8, but I would expect a true love-fest on Dec. 12.
7.Columbus Blue Jackets, 12/19/13 – A week after Briere’s return comes another former Flyer’s first trip back. Not only is it the first visit as a divisional opponent by the Blue Jackets, but it marks the return of Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The crowd reaction in this game ought to be an interesting one.
8.Boston Bruins, 1/25/14 – The last Eastern Conference opponent on the Flyers schedule, home or away, just so happens to be the defending Conference Champion. Always a good matchup between these two squads, it will also be the start of a busy Flyers weekend at the Wells Fargo Center with the Flyers Wives Carnival slated for the next afternoon. The Bruins do visit the WFC one more time on 3/30/14.
9.Chicago Blackhawks, 3/18/14 – It’ll be awhile, but the defending Stanley Cup Champions finally make their one trip to Philadelphia during the final month of the season. Of course, many Flyers fans still feel the sting of losing to the Hawks in the 2010 Finals, but can take some solace in the fact that they haven’t lost to Chicago at home since the 1996-97 season (12-2 in Philly since 1990). Not to mention, the last two regular season games in Philadelphia have been delightful, featuring big comebacks and late-game heroics by the Flyers.
10.Los Angeles Kings, 3/24/14 – Because of all of the Flyers ties to the Kings, some fans have dubbed them “Flyers West.” Well, their one trip East doesn’t happen until late March, but when it does, it will mark the first game in Philadelphia by Jeff Carter since leaving Philadelphia (he was hurt when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011) and only the second trip back for Mike Richards. There are other former Flyers there as well, including Daniel Carcillo, who was recently traded to the Kings by Chicago.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37