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Ranking the five best 2014-2015 home openers

Jun 21, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Seven Getty Images

The NHL released the list of home openers in 2014-2015 for all 30 teams on Saturday afternoon and while everyone will be excited to see the league back in action in October, there are a few games that stand out above all.

After taking a look at who each team will get to host, we’ve picked out five games that are appointment viewing in the opening week of the season. Let’s rank them out, shall we? And before you ask, no, there was no debate over which game would be No. 1. Sorry Sabres-Blue Jackets and Islanders-Hurricanes, you didn’t make the cut.

1. Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks — October 8

Not only will the Kings be raising their 2014 Stanley Cup championship banner that night, the NHL was kind/cruel enough to have the Sharks be the guests of honor. You don’t need to be reminded that the Kings overcame a 3-0 series deficit against the Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and went on to win it all.

Will Joe Thornton be there to soak in the agony of having the knife twisted one last time? Will Drew Doughty remark about the fear in the eyes of Sharks players again? If the Sharks can’t get up for this game…

source: AP2. Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins — October 16

The Habs will have to start the season on the road but when they do get back to Bell Centre, the Boston Bruins will be there to greet them. After the Canadiens took out the Bruins in the postseason and their Stanley Cup hopes with them, this ancient rivalry will get to reboot once again.

Seeing P.K. Subban on the ice should be enough motivation for Zdeno Chara and the Bruins to get up for the game. The Habs hope the respect they earned by beating Boston won’t be forgotten.

Let’s just hope Milan Lucic will be on his best behavior.

3. Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche — October 9 & 11

A bit of a funky situation with these two 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs combatants and division rivals as they start the year with a home-and-home series against each other. After going to seven games in the first-round of the playoffs ultimately won by the Wild, Patrick Roy’s Avs will get to start the season trying to wrangle Zach Parise and Ryan Suter all over again.

Big question for the Avs will be whether they’ll have Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly there to try and get the season off to a good start. Equally good question for the Wild? Who will they have in goal? Ilya Bryzgalov was key for them in the playoffs but so was Darcy Kuemper. Niklas Backstrom is still around and Josh Harding may still be in the discussion.

source: AP4. Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins — October 9

It’s a playoff rematch between a Red Wings team that was game and beat up and a Bruins team that was too good and too much for the Wings. Now that they’re division rivals and they have a playoff battle under their belts, perhaps we’ve got the start of a good rivalry.

The Red Wings should have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at full strength while the Bruins will still have Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron excelling. These two teams bring the best out of each other but the Bruins will be coming off an opening night game at home against Philadelphia. Nothing like back-to-backs to start the season.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens — October 8

It’s one of the most storied rivalries in the NHL and having the Leafs and Habs open up against each other in Toronto makes opening night all the more special. With the pomp and circumstance the Maple Leafs provide on opening night, it provides all the hockey feelings fans get tingly about.

It’ll also feature a Leafs team that hits the ice for the first time since an incredible season-ending collapse that saw them fall from third in the Eastern Conference to 12th in just over a month’s time. Meanwhile, the Canadiens are coming off an Eastern Conference Final appearance and were perhaps a Carey Price injury away from making the Stanley Cup Final.

Phil Kessel and Jonathan Bernier are about the only two Leafs players we know for sure will be on the ice for Toronto as they’ve got a summer filled with rumors and intrigue ahead of them.

  1. nightfireop - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    To the Sharks: ;-)

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    If we’re going to be honest the list of best home openers looks like this:

    1. Your favorite team’s home opener
    2. Any game where your team is someone else’s home opener

  3. earpaniac - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    C’mon! You mean the Hawks opener against traditional rival and current powerhouse Buffalo doesn’t rate?!

    • chicagobtech - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Buffalo? Is that the team with the logo that looks like a hamster hovering over a pen knife?

      • puckoff70 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        I wouldn’t talk since yours looks like a Filipino tranny on his way to a pride parade.

  4. billiam55 - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    i bet the sharks will have a 3-0 lead heading into the third period and then LA comes back to score 4 straight to win it.

    • puckoff70 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      And in the post game presser McClellan will say they were robbed leading the way for his players all feeling victimized too.

  5. micasa81 - Jun 21, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    It doesn’t do the Habs any good to delude themselves by believing they were a healthy Carey Price away from reaching the SCF. They didn’t play near as well against the Rangers as they did against the Bruins, and the Rangers are probably an overall more complete team than the Habs. They need to own up to the fact that, outside of being one of the few teams that can pick Boston apart (which, admittedly, is no small feat), they’ve got some areas to work on before they’re even going to get a sniff at number 25. I mean, let’s face it, who the hell cares if they’re good enough to make the SCF if they’re only going to be summarily dismantled by whichever powerhouse comes out of the West?

    Anyway, yep, they’re playing the Leafs to start the season. Good times, as always.

  6. Professor Fate - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    “If the Sharks can’t get up for this game…” If they do, it’ll be just a bit late. Having four chances to close the Kings out in the 1st round has to mess with their heads.

    Hasn’t that been their M.O. for some time now? Regular season tough, playoff fadeaway. They have the talent, but for some reason lack the mental toughness necessary to succeed in the postseason. If they ever find that missing piece they just might be dangerous.

    • puckoff70 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Their coach doesn’t have any mental toughness, it just trickles down from there.

  7. vstar1us - Jun 22, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    I am excited to see the Wild and Aves face off again! I think it will be a battle for a long time to come…..
    Go Wild…..

  8. jacketsfan7 - Jun 22, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    I think the blue jackets and rangers is a solid 7th, can’t wait to boo Nash in NWA

  9. easez1 - Jun 22, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Tip of the hat to the league schedulers forcing the Sharks to further their heartbreak watching the Kings raise another banner!

  10. sharksfan97 - Jun 22, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    If Doug Wilson has his way, there will be a much different cast of characters playing for the Sharks, and the alleged knife twisting won’t mean quite as much. Kings will soon find that beating a rebuilding Sharks team won’t have quite the same thrill as it used to. Perhaps Kings finally ID their true enemies, an org that had won a Cup, the ANA Ducks.

  11. ronniethec - Jun 22, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    I think kings fans truly dislike the ducks but have some small amount of respect for the ducks. The kings fans dislike the sharks and have zero respect for them.

    • diable37 - Jun 22, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      As a Kings fan, this is exactly how I feel. Honestly, I don’t mind the Ducks. But the Sharks, man do I hate the Sharks.

  12. malinpaul - Jun 22, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    sad the annual Oil Flame show doesn’t rate – might be bottom dwellers, but I guarantee anybody watching will be treated to some real old fashioned passion.

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