The Boston Bruins begin their 91st NHL season on Oct. 8 at home against Philadelphia. The full schedule has been released. They will play 82 games. In case you don't have time to catch every one, here are 21 that Bruins fans and hockeyphiles should not miss. Who says the regular-season is completely meaningless?
Oct. 8 vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. - Opening night at T.D. Garden. No banners this time but always a cause for celebration, especially the way baseball season is going.
Oct. 9 at Detroit, 7:30 p.m. - First road game of the season at the toughest opponent in the Atlantic Division located within the United States.
Oct. 16 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. - The first test against the one team in the east the Bruins cannot get out of their heads. Most regular season games don't mean much. Every game against the Canadiens will be a test.
Nov. 10 vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m. - Closes out the first of two season-long four-game "homestands" and should offer a nice mile marker on where the team stands a month into the season.
Nov. 21 at Columbus, 7 p.m. - Always good to see Nathan Horton again. A reminder of what it was like having players would could score without hitting the post five or six times first.
Nov. 22 vs. Montreal, 7 p.m. - Bring the hate and stay off Twitter. P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens return to the "scene of the crime." That's either Shawn Thornton and Water-Gate or the Bruins' loss in Game 7.
Nov. 28 vs. Winnipeg, 7 p.m. - The Black and Gold Friday tradition continues. This year it will be Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m., which means plenty of time for shopping and leftovers before heading to the game.
Dec. 2 at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. - The only visit to L.A. and the Staples Center, the home of the NHL's current reigning dynasty.
Dec. 6 at Phoenix, 8 p.m. - Does the NHL even play games in Phoenix anymore?
Dec. 11 vs. Chicago, 7 p.m. - 2013 Stanley Cup Finals rematch. Should offer another test of where the Bruins stand against the best.
Dec. 31 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. - New Year's Eve with Jack and Brick. Ryan Seacrest can't hold a candle to those guys.
Jan. 15 vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m. - First time all season the Bruins get a chance to measure up against the Eastern Conference champs. A terrific way to spend a mid-winter's night in Boston and keep your clothes on at the same time.
Jan. 31 vs. Los Angeles, 7 p.m. - The defending champions come to town. It's also the night before the Super Bowl, which may or may not be a big deal depending on the whether or not Tom Brady can break out of the bottom 27 in the NFL QB rankings.
Feb. 8 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m. - It's the Canadiens. 'Nuf said. A perfect cure-all for the first Sunday without football (either being played or coming up on the schedule) since August.
Feb. 10 vs. Dallas, 7 p.m. - By this time, Tyler Seguin will have 25 goals and Bruins fans will be wondering "What if?" all over again.
Feb. 13 at Vancouver, 10 p.m. - Friday the 13th. Note to Vancouver fans: Do not mess with Milan Lucic this time. On this Valentine's Day Eve, Vancouver remains a special place in the hearts and minds of the Bruins and their fans. It is one of only four cities where the Bruins have won a Stanley Cup. The other three are Boston, New York, and Detroit.
Feb. 22 at Chicago, 3 p.m. - NBC Game of the Week ends a run of five straight road games and the team's longest trip of the year in terms of games and mileage.
March 14 at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. - The Bruins play 15 games in the month of March, with this visit to Pittsburgh perhaps being their toughest test. They also play host to division foe and 2014 playoff opponent Detroit (March 8), Philadelphia (March 7), the Eastern Conference champion N.Y. Rangers (March 28), and western power Anaheim (March 26).
March 17 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m. - St. Patrick's Day, er Evacuation Day, night at the T.D. Garden. No two-beer limit necessary. The crowd should be already well lubricated by the time the puck drops.
April 4 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. - The final home game of the regular season. Who will win the Seventh Player Award? Reilly Smith won it this year.
April 11 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. - Nothing beats a season-ender at the hockey version of Fenway South. Expect a full house of Bruins fans at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
You might even see a ThunderBug beatdown like this:
Individual-game tickets will go on sale at a date to be announced. For more information, visit the Bruins website or call 617.624.BEAR.
The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
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