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Must-see NHL games in 2019-20

Blues raising Stanley Cup banner, Global Series, Hughes' likely debut among highlights

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL Tonight: Blues home opener

Looking ahead to Blues' banner-raising ceremony

NHL Tonight takes a look at when the Blues will raise their first Stanley Cup championship banner and face the Bruins in a Cup Final rematch

  • 01:21 •

The NHL released its 1,271-game 2019-20 regular-season schedule Tuesday, four days after revealing the home opener for each of the 31 teams.

With the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver last week and the free agency signing period beginning July 1, there are plenty of games to look forward to.

 

[RELATED: NHL releases 2019-20 regular-season schedule | Regular Season Schedule Poll]

 

Here's a look at some must-see games in 2019-20:

 

Oct. 2: Washington Capitals at St. Louis Blues (Blues' home opener)

After winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 51-season history, Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O'Reilly, goalie Jordan Binnington and the Blues will raise the Stanley Cup banner at Enterprise Center before playing T.J. Oshie, who spent seven seasons in St. Louis, Alex Ovechkin and the previous Cup winners, the Capitals. The Blues defeated the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins on their run to the title.

 

Oct. 2: San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights (2019 Stanley Cup Playoff rematch)

Opening night will include the first game between the Pacific Division rivals since San Jose's seven-game victory against Vegas in the Western Conference First Round. The Sharks trailed 3-1 in the best-of-7 series and 3-0 in Game 7 with less than 12 minutes left but scored four times in a 4:01 span on a five-minute power play before winning in overtime. Two days after the season opener, they'll play again at SAP Center in San Jose for the Sharks' home opener.

 

Oct. 4: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers (2019 NHL Global Series)

The Blackhawks and Flyers will play at O2 Arena in Prague in a homecoming for Philadelphia forward Jakub Voracek (Kladno, Czech Republic) and Chicago center David Kampf (Chomutov, Czech Republic). The Blackhawks are led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who look to get 2019-20 off to a good start after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past two seasons.

 

Oct. 4: Winnipeg Jets at New Jersey Devils (Possible Jack Hughes debut)

This likely will be the NHL debut for center Jack Hughes, selected by the Devils with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Hughes had 112 points (34 goals, 78 assists) in 50 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team this season and set the NTDP record for points in a career with 228 (74 goals, 154 assists) in two seasons.

Video: Devils draft F Jack Hughes No. 1

 

Oct. 17: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils (Kaapo Kakko vs. Jack Hughes)

The top two picks in the 2019 draft could play one another for the first time in the NHL when the Metropolitan Division rivals face off at Prudential Center. Kakko was selected by the Rangers with the No. 2 pick after the Devils took Hughes at No. 1. It could be the first of many head-to-head matchups between these two for years to come.

Video: Looking to the first possible Kakko vs. Hughes battle

 

Oct. 26: Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets (Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic)

The Flames will participate in their first outdoor game since 2011 when they play the Jets at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan. Johnny Gaudreau and Calgary will face Winnipeg, which lost to the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 in the 2016 NHL Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.

 

Oct. 26: St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins (Stanley Cup Final rematch)

Less than five months after the Blues defeated the Bruins in seven games to win the Stanley Cup, Boston will get its first shot at redemption. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand lead Boston against Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo and St. Louis at TD Garden. The teams will play for the second and final time of the regular season at Enterprise Center on April 2.

Video: STL@BOS, Gm7: Listen to every call of Blues' Cup win

 

Nov. 8-9: Buffalo Sabres vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (2019 NHL Global Series)

Defensemen and Sweden natives Victor Hedman and Rasmus Dahlin go head-to-head for the Lightning and Sabres at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Hedman was a Norris Trophy finalist for Tampa Bay, which tied an NHL record with 62 wins this season. Dahlin, a finalist for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, and Buffalo will be looking to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons under new coach Ralph Krueger.

 

Dec. 7: New Jersey Devils at Nashville Predators (P.K. Subban returns to Nashville)

After spending three seasons with the Predators, Subban was traded to the Devils on June 22 and will return to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the first time. He had 130 points (35 goals, 95 assists) in 211 games with the Predators and helped them advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

 

Jan. 1, 2020: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic)

In a rematch of a first-round playoff series this season won by the Stars in six games, the Central Division rivals will play outside at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. It will be the first outdoor game for each team. The Stars are led by goalie Ben Bishop, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL this season, and the Predators by Pekka Rinne, who won the award in 2017-18.

 

Jan. 21, 2020: Florida Panthers at Chicago Blackhawks (Joel Quenneville returns to Chicago)

After winning the Stanley Cup three times with the Blackhawks (2010, 2013, 2015), coach Joel Quenneville was fired Nov. 6, 2018, after Chicago got off to a 6-6-3 start. He had 452 wins with the Blackhawks from 2008-18 and was 76-52 in the playoffs, making them one of the best teams of the past 10 seasons. Hired by Florida on April 8, it's sure to be an emotional night when Quenneville returns to United Center.

Video: Notable returns to old stomping grounds in 2019-20

 

Feb. 15, 2020: Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche (Coors Light Stadium Series)

The Kings will visit the Avalanche at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, home of the Air Force Academy. It will be the second time the Avalanche host an outdoor game (Feb. 27, 2016, against Detroit Red Wings). Los Angeles is 1-2-0 in three outdoor games; Colorado is 0-1-0.

 

March 1, 2020: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers (Alain Vigneault returns to New York)

After not coaching in the NHL this season, Alain Vigneault was hired by the Flyers on April 15. It will be nearly five months into next season before he returns to Madison Square Garden, where he coached the Rangers for five seasons from 2013-18. That included four playoff appearances highlighted by a trip to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, when they lost to the Kings in five games. It will also be center Kevin Hayes' first game as a visitor at MSG after five seasons with the Rangers. He signed a seven-year contract with Philadelphia on June 19 after finishing this season with Winnipeg, which acquired him in a trade from New York on Feb. 25.

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