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10 must-see NHL games in 2017-18

Debut of Golden Knights, three outdoor matchups, Global Series in Sweden among highlights

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

The NHL will welcome a new team, the Vegas Golden Knights, for the 2017-18 season, and their first game is one of the highlights of the League schedule.

The Expansion Draft to fill out the Golden Knights roster took place Wednesday, when each of the 31 teams' home openers also were announced. The entire 1,271-game regular-season schedule for 2017-18 was revealed Thursday.

Here's a look at 10 must-see games:


[RELATED: 2017-18 NHL Events | NHL announces 2017-18 home openers | 2017-18 NHL schedule released | Full 2017-18 Schedule]


Oct. 4: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins (Penguins home opener)

Captain Sidney Crosby, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP in 2016 and 2017, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Murray and the rest of the Penguins will raise their second straight Stanley Cup banner at home against the Blues. The Penguins, who defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators to win the Cup, were 31-6-4 at PPG Paints Arena in 2016-17.


Oct. 5: Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings (Little Caesars Arena first regular-season game)

After playing at Joe Louis Arena since 1979 and winning four Stanley Cup championships in their time there, the Red Wings move into their new home, Little Caesars Arena. The Red Wings' run of 25 straight seasons making the playoffs came to an end in 2016-17, so they'll try to start a new streak in their new home. The Red Wings will host the Wild, who set franchise records for wins (49) and points (106) this season.


Oct. 6: Vegas Golden Knights at Dallas Stars (Golden Knights' first game)

The Golden Knights will play the Stars at American Airlines Center in their first game. Four days later, they'll play their home opener against the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena in the second of a home-and-home set.


Oct. 7: Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins (Stanley Cup Final rematch)

The Penguins defeated the Predators in six games in the Stanley Cup Final, winning Games 5 and 6 after the series was tied 2-2. Nashville will get its first shot at Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena, where it went 0-3 during the Final. The Predators host the Penguins at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 11.


Nov. 10-11: Colorado Avalanche vs. Ottawa Senators (2017 SAP NHL Global Series)

The Avalanche and Senators will play two games in Sweden at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog and Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson were born in Sweden, making this matchup even more special for them. It will be the sixth time the NHL has played regular-season games in Europe, first since 2011.


Dec. 16: Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators (2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic)

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first two NHL games, one of which involved Ottawa and Montreal, the Senators and Canadiens will play at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, home of the Ottawa RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League. The game between the Senators, who came within one goal of the Stanley Cup Final this season, and the Canadiens, who won the Atlantic Division, will coincide with the 150th anniversary of Canada and the 125th birthday of the Stanley Cup.


Jan. 1: New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres (2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic)

The Sabres return to the Winter Classic 10 years after hosting the first one when they play their intrastate rivals at Citi Field, home of Major League Baseball's New York Mets. It's the second appearance for the Rangers in the Winter Classic (2012) and their fourth outdoor game; they played the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders in the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series.

Video: The 2018 Winter Classic to take place at Citi Field


Jan. 13: Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils (possible Nolan Patrick/Nico Hischier matchup)

The game is likely to feature the top two picks in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Devils have the No. 1 choice and are expected to choose between 18-year-old centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier. The Flyers, who have the No. 2 pick, are expected to take the other. It's the first of four games this season between the longtime Metropolitan Division rivals; all four will be played in a one-month span.


Feb. 6: Vegas Golden Knights at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury returns to Pittsburgh)

Fleury, who was selected by the Penguins with the first pick in the 2003 NHL Draft and spent his first 13 seasons with them before being taken by the Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, returns to Pittsburgh to face his former team in what is sure to be an emotional night. Fleury, the Penguins' all-time leader in wins (375), save percentage (.912), goals-against average (2.58) and shutouts (44), was a member of Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2009, 2016 and 2017.


March 3: Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals (Coors Light NHL Stadium Series)

Following a thrilling Eastern Conference First Round series in April that was won in six games by the Capitals, Washington and Toronto meet at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. Toronto, which defeated the Red Wings in the 2017 Scotiabank Centennial Classic, is led by Calder Trophy winner Auston Matthews, who had 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) this season. They'll face seven-time 50-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, who will be playing in an outdoor game for the third time, first since the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Washington.

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