With training camp almost complete and football season kicking off, now is the time to start looking forward to the upcoming Penguins season. Since watching the Penguins and their depleted defense fall to the New York Rangers in the playoffs, fans are itching to see the revamped Penguins take the ice, and likely even more for these 10 games.
Take your pick: Season opener, Phil Kessel’s first game as a Penguin (and Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen, and others), and a matchup with a team overloaded with offensive firepower. Adding another weapon to the arsenal this offseason, Patrick Sharp will join alongside Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, among others hoping to propel the Stars into the playoffs.
October 13, 2015: Canadiens Vs. Penguins
Not only is this the home opener for the Penguins, it’s against the Penguins former coach Michel Therrien, and a team that closed out the Igloo only 5 years ago. The Penguins and Canadiens have had their battles over the years, featuring showdowns between goaltenders Carey Price and Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Kris Letang and forward Max Pacioretty, and P.K. Subban versus pretty much the entire Penguins team. Lastly, you have Phil Kessel donning the black and gold/yellow for the first time on home ice.
October 28, 2015: Penguins @ Capitals
As always, Penguins vs. Capitals games are typically some of the most anticipated every season. That hasn’t changed this season. In fact, this season it’s likely to be even more intense, as both teams have loaded up on offense this offseason; the Penguins picking up both scoring and depth, while the Capitals added TJ Oshie and Mr. Game Seven himself, Justin Williams. If Crosby and Malkin versus Ovechkin and Backstrom wasn’t enough, now with former members from both teams now playing with the other side, like Eric Fehr with the Penguins and Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen with the Capitals, another element is added to the mix in this rivalry.
October 31, 2015: Penguins @ Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel returns to Toronto and the Air Canada Centre. Also, I’m guessing some people might be interested to watch Nick Spaling’s first game against the Penguins, but I’m not sure why or who they are. The Toronto media will probably start preparing for this game before the puck drops on their first game this year. In all likelihood, it’s entirely possible that the ACC is completely surrounded by hot dog carts. The media, the fans, and the Leafs are probably going to do everything in their power to give Phil Kessel a less than delightful welcome back to his old stomping grounds.
Finally, the Edmonton Oilers get a chance to bring the first overall pick in the most recent draft to the Consol Energy Center. The Next One versus the Next Next (or is it the Next Next Next) One. Crosby vs. McDavid. Crosby vs. Hall. Crosby vs. Nugent-Hopkins. Crosby vs. Yakupov. The young, overly talented Oilers team against the been-there, done-that already there Penguins.
January 5, 2016: Blackhawks vs. Penguins
Any time the defending Stanley Cup Champions visit, it’s a game worth tuning in for, especially when it’s a clash between two titans of hockey. Will the Patrick Kane situation be resolved by the New Year? Will he still be a Blackhawk?
January 21, 2016: Flyers vs. Penguins
First game of the season between the cross-state rivals comes almost halfway through the season. Will this be the year that the Penguins finally take back their own arena? Since the building opened in 2010, the Flyers might as well have held the deed to the place, as they’ve owned the Penguins in their home rink in that time. With Mike Johnston at the helm for his second season, will the Penguins continue to exorcise their demons and get the Flyers out of their heads?
February 10, 2016: Rangers vs. Penguins
Coming days before Valentine’s Day 2016, there will be no love lost between these two rivals. Will the Rangers break the Penguins hearts again? Can the Penguins score goals as sweet as chocolate? The Penguins will face the Rangers for the first time since their defeat in last year’s playoffs and want to know if this start for getting revenge from the past few early exits from the postseason.
April 7, 2016: Penguins @ Capitals
The second to last game of the season, against a major rival, with potential playoff implications for both teams. Both teams could have players chasing individual awards in addition to looking to either put their team into the playoffs or get a better spot.
April 9, 2016: Penguins @ Flyers
Last game of the season, against the Flyers, in Philadelphia. Since it’s against the Flyers, there’s no guarantee of both teams having to fight for a playoff spot. If the Flyers are out of contention at this point and the Penguins are still fighting for a spot or for a better spot, you can expect the Flyers to keep things interesting.