The 2017-18 NHL season is now just two sleeps away. While we won’t be breaking any games down until Wednesday, we are starting to see bookmakers begin to set the market for Opening Night.
Without going too deep, we can set up the games to whet the whistle before we get into the nitty-gritty on Wednesday.
Toronto and Winnipeg meet in a battle between 2016-17 Rookie of the Year Auston Matthews and runner-up Patrik Laine. The Jets and Leafs both feature exciting offenses and defenses that can move the puck, so this is a tantalizing opener.
The second game on the docket will see the Pittsburgh Penguins raise a second-straight Stanley Cup banner as they host the St. Louis Blues. The Penguins did lose a few core members of their Cup teams, like Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Kunitz, but they get Kris Letang back from injury and still have that Sidney Crosby fella. St. Louis is a tough team to read; they are very talented up front, even with some injury issues, and have high-end defensemen, but their lack of depth could do them in.
At 10:05 pm ET we get the first installment of the Battle of Alberta. Reigning MVP Connor McDavid and the Oilers will host the Calgary Flames, who just signed Jaromir Jagr. Calgary’s defense should be one of the league’s best, so this is going to be a strength vs. strength matchup.
The night concludes with an odd tilt. The San Jose Sharks will host the Philadelphia Flyers. Both teams are in a weird spot. San Jose will rely heavily on Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture up front with Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic doing the heavy lifting in the back. For Flyers fans, this game gives them their first look at No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick in his Philly debut.
[Photo: Gary A. Vazquez, USA Today]