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Season Preview

Season Preview

16 must-see games this season

Schedule highlighted by Rogers Place debut, Joe Louis Arena finale, plenty more in between

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

The 2016-17 NHL season features four outdoor games, new faces in new places, the first game in a new building and the last game in the League's oldest.

Of the 1,230 regular-season games to be played, here are 16 no fan should miss: 

1. Oct. 12: Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers, 10 p.m. ET
The Oilers play their first regular-season game at Rogers Place with a renewal of the Battle of Alberta. Oilers center Connor McDavid, 19, will play his first game as Oilers captain. He became the youngest captain in NHL history on Oct. 5.

2. Oct. 13: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET
The Penguins celebrate their 2016 Stanley Cup championship one more time. And they'll do it against one of their biggest rivals in the Capitals, who they defeated in six games in the Eastern Conference Second Round. 

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm6: Bonino buries rebound to clinch series

3. Oct. 19: Toronto Maple Leafs at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m. ET
The first game between Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, and Jets forward Patrik Laine, the No. 2 selection, takes place at MTS Centre in Winnipeg. Matthews and Laine are expected to have top-six roles on their teams. They'll play at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Feb. 21.

4. Oct. 20: San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET
The first Stanley Cup Final rematch takes place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The Sharks won their previous game in Pittsburgh, in Game 5 of the Final. They'll play at SAP Center in San Jose on Nov. 5. 

5. Oct. 23: Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets, 3 p.m. ET
The first outdoor game of the season will be the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg. It's the first outdoor game in Canada since the 2014 Heritage Classic in Vancouver. In addition to the regular-season game, a team of Jets alumni, led by Teemu Selanne and Dale Hawerchuk, will play outside against an Oilers alumni team that will include Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Paul Coffey.

Video: 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic introduction

6. Nov. 11: Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET
The annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game is the kickoff to four-day celebration of the Class of 2016: Eric Lindros, Sergei Makarov, Rogie Vachon and Pat Quinn. Lindros began his NHL career with the Flyers in 1992 and played for the Maple Leafs in 2005-06. Quinn started his coaching career with the Flyers in 1978-79 and coached the Maple Leafs from 1998-2006.

7. Nov. 13: Montreal Canadiens at Chicago Blackhawks, 7 p.m. ET
Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw returns to Chicago. Shaw was a versatile, important piece of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup championship teams in 2013 and 2015. He was traded to the Canadiens on June 24. 

8. Jan. 1: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs, 3 p.m. ET
The NHL Centennial Classic, to be played at BMO Field in Toronto, will mark the start of a year-long, League-wide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the NHL.

9. Jan. 2: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues, 1 p.m. ET
The 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis between the Central Division rivals. It's the first time the Blues are taking part in an outdoor game and the fourth straight season the Blackhawks are playing outside. 

10. Jan. 10: Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET
David Backes returns to St. Louis, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons, including the final five as captain. After helping the Blues reach the Western Conference Final last season, he signed a five-year contract with the Bruins on July 1. Backes will play his former teammates for the first time at TD Garden in Boston on Nov. 22.

11. Jan. 12: New Jersey Devils at Edmonton Oilers, 9 p.m. ET
Devils forward Taylor Hall returns to Edmonton. The Oilers selected Hall with the No. 1 pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, and in six seasons he had 328 points (132 goals, 196 assists), eighth among NHL left wings since the 2010-11 season. The Oilers traded him to the Devils on June 29. Hall will play his former teammates at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Jan. 7.

Video: NYR@NJD: Hall kicks puck to stick, finishes for lead

12. Jan. 13: Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Lightning will celebrate the career of forward Martin St. Louis, culminating with St. Louis' No. 26 becoming the first to be retired by the Lightning. Among St. Louis' accomplishments with the Lightning was winning the Stanley Cup in 2004. The coach of that team, John Tortorella, is coach of the Blue Jackets. 

13. Jan. 29: NHL All-Star Game, TBD
The best players in the League will play head-to-head at Staples Center in Los Angeles. There will be a skills competition Jan. 28, followed by the third NHL All-Star Game played in the city (1981, 2002).

14. Feb. 25: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, 8 p.m. ET
The Keystone State rivalry goes outside for the first time at the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, to be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The teams have played 277 times in the regular season, with the Flyers winning 151 times. 

15. March 2: Nashville Predators at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. ET
Defenseman P.K. Subban, one of the most popular Canadiens players ever, skates at Bell Centre as a visitor for the first time. In seven seasons with the Canadiens, Subban became a star for his play and presence in the community, but was traded to the Predators for defenseman Shea Weber on June 29. The Canadiens and Predators will play in Nashville on Jan. 3, but the first game for Subban in Montreal is expected to be an emotional affair.

16: April 9: New Jersey Devils at Detroit Red Wings, 5 p.m. ET
The Red Wings play their final regular-season game at Joe Louis Arena, their home since the 1979-80 season. Next season they'll begin playing at Little Caesars Arena.

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