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A full night of hockey: 12 games slated for Thursday

NHL.com @NHL
After a relatively quiet Wednesday that had just two games on the schedule, the NHL will be in full swing on Thursday. Twenty-four teams will be action on a busy night that features some intriguing matchups.

On the East Coast, the New York Rangers meet the Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET) for the first time since the Caps came back from a 3-1 series deficit to oust them in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring. John Tavares, the No. 1 selection in the 2009 Entry Draft, will play in his native Ontario for the first time as the New York Islanders visit Ottawa (7 p.m. ET) for the Senators' home opener.

The heated rivalry between the Pennsylvania teams also resumes on Thursday, as the Philadelphia Flyers host the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET). The Flyers are off to a 3-0-0 start following Tuesday's 6-5 overtime win against Washington, while the Pens are coming off a clunker -- a 3-0 home loss to Phoenix on Wednesday.

The New Jersey Devils (0-2-0) will look to bounce back from Monday's 3-2 loss to the Rangers as they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (0-1-1) in a battle of winless teams (7:30 p.m. ET). Also, the Atlanta Thrashers travel to St. Louis to face the Blues (8 p.m. ET), while the Boston Bruins are back on home ice against the Anaheim Ducks (7 p.m. EDT.

Meanwhile, the surprisingly red-hot Coyotes will look to make it three in a row as they head to Buffalo (7 p.m. ET) following Wednesday's win at Pittsburgh.

NHL Network has a tremendous game on tap as the Detroit Red Wings host the Chicago Blackhawks (7:30 p.m. ET) in a rematch of the Western Conference Final. Detroit won that series in five games before falling to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final.

Things will be awfully busy further west, too. The Nashville Predators kick off their home schedule as they play host to the Colorado Avalanche, who have outscored their opponents by an 8-2 margin while winning their first two games (8 p.m. ET). The Calgary Flames, winners of three straight, will look to improve to 4-0 as their heated rivalry with the Edmonton Oilers (1-1-0) continues (9:30 p.m. ET). It's the Flames' second visit to Rexall Place in five days -- Calgary won 4-3 on Saturday to spoil the Oilers' home opener.

Two games begin at 10:30 p.m. ET. The Columbus Blue Jackets try to go 3-0-0 for the first time in franchise history at HP Pavilion against the San Jose Sharks, who are playing their home opener. The Minnesota Wild begin a road trip as they take on the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.

Here are NHL.com's previews for the Thursday's games.

Anaheim at Boston, 7 p.m.               
Phoenix at Buffalo, 7 p.m.              
N.Y. Islanders at Ottawa, 7 p.m.           
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.           
N.Y. Rangers at Washington, 7 p.m.       
New Jersey at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.      
Chicago at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.           
Atlanta at St. Louis, 8 p.m.               
Colorado at Nashville, 8 p.m.           
Calgary at Edmonton, 9:30 p.m.           
Minnesota at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.       
Columbus at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.       
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