It may be early in the NHL season, but there's no shortage of compelling games on the calendar. Here's five we'll be watching in the coming days:
New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins: Another first for the amazing Staal family. Rangers defenceman Marc Staal will face brother Jordan of the Penguins in the NHL for the first time. Besides that, this is an interesting game for both teams - they are each off to slow starts after being picked by many to challenge for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Smyth left Edmonton in tears after being dealt at the trade deadline in February. He might be greeted with jeers in his return to the city. Smyth played more than 750 games for the Oilers and will be wearing a visiting jersey at Rexall Place for the first time. Reaction to his departure was mixed among fans so it will be interesting to see how he's received.
Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames: At 7-0-1, the Wild are the only NHL team that has yet to lose a game in regulation. Minnesota has allowed just 11 goals in those eight games and will look to cool the Flames scorching offence. Calgary enters the week as the second-highest scoring team in the Western Conference.
Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins: Bottom-feeders no more. Two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference a year ago, Boston and Philadelphia have each started this season strongly. This game will most likely be played at the same time as Game 3 of the World Series between Boston and Colorado. Just because the stands probably won't be full at TD Banknorth Garden, doesn't mean this game will be a dud.
Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Ducks: Another interesting game involving the Oilers, although this one has little to do with what's happening on the ice. GMs Brian Burke and Kevin Lowe exchanged shots through the media and haven't spoken since Edmonton signed former Ducks player Dustin Penner to an offer sheet over the summer. They won't speak on this day, either. It won't be too surprising if that bad blood filters its way down to the players.