Must-see NHL games for 2024-25 season | (2024)

Panthers raising Stanley Cup banner, Winter Classic, Global Series among highlights

Must-see NHL games for 2024-25 season | (1)

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By David Satriano

@davidsatriano Staff Writer

The NHL released its 1,312-game 2024-25 regular-season schedule on Tuesday.

With the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft taking place this past weekend, and the free agency signing period underway, there is added intrigue to the number of games to look forward to.

Check out the 2024-25 NHL schedule

Here's a look at several must-see games in 2024-25:

Oct. 4-5: New Jersey Devils vs. Buffalo Sabres (Global Series Czechia)

The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils will open the NHL season with two games at O2 Arena in Prague in the 2024 NHL Global Series Czechia presented by Fastenal. Each team has a new coach after failing to qualify for the playoffs last season. The Devils hired Sheldon Keefe, who was fired by the Maple Leafs, and the Sabres hired Lindy Ruff, who coached the Devils last season before he was fired. There should be plenty of star power in the game, including Devils forwards Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Ondrej Palat, who was born in Czechia. Goalie Jacob Markstrom could make his Devils debut after being traded to New Jersey on June 19.

Devils, Sabres clash in Global Series Czechia

Oct. 8: Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers (Panthers home opener)

The Panthers will raise their Stanley Cup banner against a familiar foe in the Bruins, who they defeated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past two seasons. Florida last played a meaningful game at Amerant Bank Arena on June 24, when it defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in Game 7. Boston is hoping to spoil the party and get its season off to a good start.

Aleksander Barkov lifts the Stanley Cup after Game 7 win

Oct. 8: Chicago Blackhawks at Utah Hockey Club (Utah first game)

When the Utah Hockey Club takes the ice at Delta Center in Salt Lake City, it's sure to be a raucous atmosphere. And what better way for forwards Clayton Keller, Logan Cooley and the rest of the team to open up than against the Connor Bedard and the Blackhawks? Bedard, the reigning Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year, led first-year players in goals, assists and points last season despite missing 14 games with a jaw injury.

Oct. 10 St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks (Potential Macklin Celebrini debut)

Sharks fans haven't had much to cheer for the past handful of seasons but could get their first glimpse at the top pick against the Blues. If Celebrini, who was chosen No. 1 in the 2024 NHL Draft, turns pro, this will be his first chance to show what he can do at the professional level. It will also be the first game as coach for Ryan Warsofsky, who was named to the position June 13.

Macklin Celebrini drafted by San Jose Sharks

Oct. 10: New Jersey Devils at Toronto Maple Leafs (Keefe against former team)

After five seasons as coach of the Maple Leafs which resulted in five playoff appearances but never winning more than one round, Keefe was fired on May 9. The Devils hired him two weeks later on May 23. He won't have to wait long to play Toronto, as it will be the Devils’ first game at Prudential Center following their return from the Global Series. Keefe will return Toronto for the first time and face Auston Matthews and his former team on Jan. 16.

Oct. 28: Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning (Stamkos return to Tampa Bay)

It will be a strange sight to see Steven Stamkos in a uniform other than the Lightning bolt crest, but even stranger to see him play as a visitor at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The forward, who spent 16 seasons with the Lightning since being selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, ranks first in team history in goals (555) and points (1,137) and led them to two Stanley Cup titles. Nashville signed Stamkos to a four-year contract Monday after the free agent was unable to reach an agreement to stay with Tampa Bay.

NHL Tonight talks about the Predators additions

Nov. 1-2: Dallas Stars vs. Florida Panthers (Global Series Finland)

The Cup champion Panthers will play the Stars twice at Nokia Arena in Tampere as part of the 2024 NHL Global Series Finland presented by Fastenal. The game should be stocked with Finnish talent, with forward Roope Hintz and defensem*n Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Jani Hakanpää on Dallas and forwards Aleksander Barkov, Anton Lundell, Eetu Luostarinen and defenseman Niko Mikkola on Florida.

Stars, Panthers face off in Global Series Finland

Nov. 8: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs (Hall of Fame game)

The annual Hall of Fame game, which takes place in Toronto the weekend of the Hall of Fame inductions, will see the Red Wings visit the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. It will be a big week for the Red Wings, as former forward Pavel Datsyuk will be enshrined with hockey legends after a stellar 14-year career in which he had 918 points and won the Stanley Cup twice.

Dec. 16: Florida Panthers at Edmonton Oilers (Stanley Cup Final rematch)

After an exciting Stanley Cup Final that went seven games, Connor McDavid and the Oilers will get their first chance at a rematch at Rogers Place in Edmonton in December. The Panthers will have to wait a little longer before facing the Oilers at home for the first time since they defeated them there to win the title. That will be at Amerant Bank Arena on Feb. 27.

Dec. 31: St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks (2025 Discover NHL Winter Classic)

The most anticipated game of the season every year returns when the Blues visit the Blackhawks at iconic Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Blackhawks seek their first win in the Winter Classic, having not won in four tries, including in 2009 when the game was also at Wrigley Field. The Blues seek to keep their perfect record intact in outdoor games, having won each, including the most recent, the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The 2025 Winter Classic will be held at Wrigley Field

March 1: Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets (2025 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series)

When the Blue Jackets play in their first NHL outdoor game, it will be a big one against the Red Wings at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University. There are expected to be more than 100,000 fans in attendance and it could also be an important two points for the teams that are hoping to get back to the playoffs after lengthy absences.

Blue Jackets, Red Wings face off at The Horseshoe

April 12: Nashville Predators at Vegas Golden Knights (Marchessault return to Vegas)

It will take almost the entire season before Jonathan Marchessault plays a game at T-Mobile Arena, his home for the past seven NHL seasons. Marchessault, who signed a five-year contract with the Predators on Monday, was an original member of the Golden Knights and leads them in games (514), goals (192), assists (225) and points (417). Marchessault is sure to receive a long standing ovation upon his return after he helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2023 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

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Must-see NHL games for 2024-25 season | (2024)
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