NHL schedule: The best games of opening week

Jonathan Daniel

It's opening week in the NHL. Here's a look at some of the best games.

The 2013-14 NHL season officially begins on Tuesday night with an exciting slate of games. However, the fun doesn't stop there, as the rest of the week is complete with NHL hockey.

Here's a look at some of the more compelling match-ups for this week:

Tue., Oct. 1

Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET (CBC, RDS)

The season begins with one of the oldest rivalries in all of hockey. Both clubs qualified for the playoffs in 2013 and hope to prove that the performance was a sign of things to come, not just a fluke. While Toronto made several big-name acquisitions this summer, namely David Clarkson and Jonathan Bernier, neither player will be in the lineup as Clarkson is suspended and Bernier is expected to backup incumbent starter James Reimer.

Montreal forward Danny Briere will be making his debut after signing with the club this offseason.

Team blogs: Eyes on the PrizePension Plan Puppets

Capitals vs. Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)

The Blackhawks enter the year as favorite to repeat as Stanley Cup champion. Having captured two championships in four years, the club is the first franchise to win multiple Cups in the salary cap-era of the NHL. Tuesday night will act as a coronation for that accomplishment. The club is expected to have a full roster against Washington.

Team blogs: Japers' RinkSecond City Hockey

Wed., Oct 2

Maple Leafs vs. Flyers, 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN, CSN Philly)

Bernier is expected to make his Maple Leafs debut against the Flyers. Bernier waited for an opportunity while backing up Jonathan Quick with the Los Angeles Kings and now finds himself in a competition with Reimer to take over as the No. 1 with the Maple Leafs. Will Bernier live up to expectation in his first contest?

Conversely, Philadelphia has questions of their own in the crease, as Ray Emery and Steve Mason have a competition of their own. The Flyers were disappointing in 2013 and made two key-additions in defenseman Mark Streit and former-Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier. Will the club be improved in 2013-14?

Team blogs: Broad Street HockeyPension Plan Puppets

Sabres vs. Red Wings, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN, TSN 2)

The Red Wings have been looking to move East for years and realignment finally provided the opportunity to do so. After a spirited effort last season, the club returns this season with an improved forward group augmented by the signing of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss.

Team blogs: Die By The BladeWinging it in Motown

Ducks vs. Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET (RDS 2)

The Avalanche selected Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. He and head coach Patrick Roy will be making their NHL debuts on Wednesday night.

Team blogs: Anaheim CallingMile High Hockey

Thurs., Oct. 3

Kings vs. Wild, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

Many consider Los Angeles as a serious contender for the Western Conference crown this season, while Minnesota attempts to build upon their playoff qualification in 2013. The two clubs will open their seasons on a national stage on Thursday.

Team blogs: Jewels from the CrownHockey Wilderness

Canucks vs. Sharks, 10 p.m. ET (TSN, CSN Bay Area)

Many question whether the window has closed in Vancouver. Controversial coach John Tortorella and spurned goaltender Roberto Luongo are two primary pieces the Canucks hope can keep the team's Cup hopes alive this season.

San Jose is another Western team whose opportunity is growing smaller, especially with Dan Boyle, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau entering the final year of their contracts.

With that pressure in mind, these two Pacific Division rivals look to start the year on a strong note.

Team blogs: Nucks MisconductFear the Fin

Sat., Oct. 5

Red Wings vs. Bruins, 7 p.m. ET (NHL Network)
Senators vs. Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET (CBC)

Saturday night is Atlantic Division night in the NHL. Potentially the strongest division in the entire league, four of the groupings top teams will meet on Saturday and the contests should be intense. Boston and Detroit meet for the first time as division foes, while the Battle of Ontario records another chapter in Toronto.

Team blogs: Pension Plan PuppetsSilver SevenStanley Cup of ChowderWinging it in Motown

More from SB Nation NHL:

Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs agree to 8-year deal

Stanley Cup odds for 2013-14

Kovalchuk injured after running into teammate

Team USA will announce roster at Winter Classic

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