The NHL released its 2021-22 schedule. With the return of the 82-game schedule, realigned divisions, and the Seattle Kraken, it feels like we’re back to “normal” for hockey.
There are already NHL betting lines for the Kraken’s season opener against the Vegas Golden Knights and that headlines one of the must-watch games for the NHL this season. We picked one game from each month that is worth watching and betting online when the lines open.
NHL Must-Watch Games
October #1: Seattle Kraken @ Vegas Golden Knights (Oct. 12)
Speaking of the Kraken, they kick off their NHL season against the last expansion team before them: the Golden Knights. The odds have the Knights as sizable -275 betting favorites. It might be a rout for Vegas or Seattle proves it’s better than the sum of its parts kind of like… Vegas did.
October #2: Vancouver Canucks @ Seattle Kraken (Oct. 23)
We’re including a second game for October because it’s the most loaded month and because we couldn’t leave out the Kraken’s home opener against their geographic rivals: the Canucks. This will be like the Buffalo-Toronto rivalry of the west and will be a madhouse with all the new Kraken fans packing the Climate Pledge Arena.
Another To Watch: Colorado @ Tampa Bay (Oct. 23)
November: Buffalo Sabres @ New York Rangers (Nov. 21)
It’s a state rivalry and the battle between the last two No. 1 overall picks. Alexis Lafreniere had a disappointing rookie season for the Rangers but could be much improved while the Sabres, who took defenseman Owen Power, can flash their prized prospect.
Another To Watch: Buffalo @ Seattle (Nov. 4)
December: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Montreal Canadiens (Dec. 7)
The Canadiens look to exact some vengeance in this Stanley Cup rematch. Tampa Bay beat Montreal in five games to win their second straight Stanley Cup. The Bell Centre will be just as raucous as Games 3 and 4. They meet again later in the month (Dec. 28) as Montreal re-visits the scene of the crime.
Another To Watch: Pittsburgh @ Boston (Dec. 27)
January: St. Louis Blues @ Minnesota Wild (Jan. 1)
The 2022 NHL Winter Classic takes place at the Target Field in Minnesota. This may be the coldest Winter Classic temperature-wise, but expect the on-ice play to be infernal. Minnesota and St. Louis combined to score almost seven goals every time they faced each other and this included a 9-1 explosion from the Blues.
Another To Watch: Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (Jan. 6)
February: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Nashville Predators (Feb. 26)
From the Winter Classic to the Stadium Series. The Lightning head to Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Tampa Bay may be chalk here, but Nashville did beat it in two of their last three meetings last season. Don’t sleep on the Predators, especially if goalie Juuse Saros is hot.
Another To Watch: Toronto @ Washington (Feb. 28)
March: Tampa Bay Lightning @ New York Islanders (Mar. 27)
The Lightning visit their playoff nemesis in their new home in the UBS Arena in Elmont. The Islanders pushed the Lightning to their breaking point but fell short for the second straight playoffs. This isn’t Nassau Coliseum, but expect the Islanders faithful to be just as rowdy.
Another To Watch: Carolina @ Colorado (Mar. 10)
April: Pacific Division Games
It will be pure chaos in the final month of the NHL with all these intra-division games determining playoff spots. Of all the divisions, the Pacific Division is the most unpredictable. Other than Vegas, we can see the other seven jostle for playoff spots including the Edmonton Oilers. Expect a playoff atmosphere in these games.