Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Circle Your Calendars: ranking the top ten ‘must-watch’ Oilers games this season

I love the excitement that the beginning of hockey season brings. Everyone starts off on the same foot, every team has zero wins, and no one has scored a goal yet. It’s all about optimism. In a sense, it’s pure.

The season opener is always one of my favourite games of the year but, I decided to rank ten other games that you should circle on your calendar this season:

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10 – November 6th vs St. Louis

It’s always fun to see the defending Stanley Cup Champions roll into Rogers Place. The Blues should be a really good team this year and they also have local product Colton Parayko, who I love getting a chance to watch up close. It should be a fun matchup.

9 – November 8th vs New Jersey

Taylor Hall returning to Edmonton will make my list every single year but it’s slipped down every year as well. The first year after he was dealt, I had it in my top three. Last year, it was number seven on my list and this year, it’s a little lower. Lots of fans really don’t care about this game but there were a lot of people who loved Hall during his time in Edmonton.

No matter how you feel about him, you can’t deny that it’s a major story when he rolls back into Edmonton.

8 – October 12 – @ New York

It’s the first matinee game of the season and I personally LOVE afternoon hockey. Waking up and having the game start in just a few hours is a great feeling. 

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Of course, the first matinee of the season also means that it’s the Oilersnation Season Opening Party! More info is available here.

Head out, have a few drinks, and watch the Oilers! If they win, then you’ll be in a great mood for the rest of the day! If they lose, then at least you watched the game with some friends and had a few drinks!

7 – March 23 – vs Anaheim

I looked at matchups when picking out my top ten games of the year, but I also looked at games that could be pivotal points of the season. This game against the Ducks is certainly one. If the Oilers want to be in the hunt for a playoff spot, they’ll have to win big games against their own division. This game against the Ducks kicks off a run of six straight games against Western Conference opponents, with five of those teams being from the Pacific Division. It will be a crucial stretch of hockey. 

6 – December 14 – vs Toronto

There might not be a rivalry on the ice between the Oilers and Leafs but there is certainly a rivalry between the two fan bases. There are Oilers fans who hate hearing about the Leafs, there are Leafs fans who love to bash the Oilers. It can be both entertaining and annoying but there’s no denying that when the Oilers take on the Leafs, there is something more than just two points on the line for the Oilers fan base.

5 – April 4 – @ Calgary

The season finale will mean one of three things. Either the Oilers are running out a regular season that will see them miss the playoffs, they’re sitting a handful of regulars because they’re in the playoffs, or they’re playing for their playoff lives in game 82. Either way, I’ll be looking forward to the final game of the season.

4 – November 10 – @ Anaheim

Just like the other game against the Ducks I have listed, this one kicks off a run of important divisional games. They’ll head to Anaheim for their first California road trip of the season, which is always a tough task, and this game will kick off 6/8 games against Pacific Division opponents.

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I said it once and I’ll say it again: if they’re going to compete for a playoff spot, they need to win the ‘four-point games’ against their own division. All of these games are important and starting the first divisional road trip of the year with a win will be crucial.

3 -January 11 – @ Calgary

The first chance to head into the Saddledome and beat the Calgary Flames won’t come until January but it will be worth the wait. A hopefully renewed ‘Battle of Alberta’ on a cold Saturday night in the dead of winter. It’ll be an exciting matchup. 

2 – December 20 – vs Pittsburgh

Who knows how many more times we’ll get to see Crosby vs McDavid at Rogers Place. Crosby is still just 32-years-old but I don’t want to take nights like this for granted. Getting a chance to see two of the best players in NHL history go head-to-head is such a treat.

It also helps that these two teams always seem to put on great shows with lots of offence. All in all, this will be a great matchup.

1 – December 27 – vs Calgary

The James Neal for Milan Lucic swap in July will give the ‘Battle of Alberta’ new life. I’m calling it right now. Will Lucic go after a former teammate and drop the gloves? Will Kassian take a run at him?

Things did not end well between Milan Lucic and the Oilers and I expect tempers to flare when these two teams finally meet. Last season we saw Matthew Tkachuk aggravate the Oilers and the likes of Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian go right back at him.

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I have high hopes for the BOA this year and it all gets going on December 27 when these two teams meet for the first time.