NHL Schedule 2023-24 | Top 10 Games To Watch

Pat Pickens
Last Updated: Jun 30, 2023

The NHL regular season is tricky.

Sure, the Stanley Cup playoffs are exhilarating and must-watch TV. But with each team playing 82 games from mid-October to mid-April, the regular season can be a slog, especially since half the league qualifies for the playoffs.

If you were too busy to notice, the NHL released its 2023-24 schedule June 27, and it will run from Oct. 10-April 18.

If you want to passively follow the regular season, it’s defensible, but be sure to tune into the games listed below.

Here are the top 10 must-watch NHL regular-season games for 2023-24.

Top 10 NHL Games To Watch This Season

1. Vegas Golden Knights @ Seattle Kraken

T-Mobile Park, Monday, Jan. 1 (4 p.m. ET; TNT)

The 2024 Winter Classic features two great teams in a sports-mad city. The NHL announced the Emerald City outdoor game in January, then watched the Kraken reach the playoffs and the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup.

More: Golden Knights‘ Cup Win Affirms Vegas’ Status as Hockey Hotbed

The Winter Classic is the NHL’s signature event, and this is the first time it’ll be played west of the Central time zone. The NHL has been trying to build a rivalry between its two youngest teams since Seattle entered the league in 2021, and this stage should only enhance that.

2. New York Rangers @ New York Islanders

MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Feb. 18 (3 p.m. ET)

Islanders-Rangers games are always entertaining for their circus-style atmosphere, especially the ones on Long Island. This game may be in New Jersey, but it’ll be fueled by roughly 60,000 extra fans and vengeance, since Rangers coach Peter Laviolette is also a former Islanders coach.

These teams bring out the best in each other — the Isles won two of three last season — and each should be challenging for a playoff spot, which should make for a great game on top of the electric atmosphere.

The Devils and Philadelphia Flyers will play at the Meadowlands the day prior, but the faceoff between the New York rivals will be the headliner of Stadium Series weekend in North Jersey.

3. Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers

Commonwealth Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 29 (7 p.m. ET; Sportsnet)

The Battle of Alberta has given hockey fans just about everything, except an outdoor game. That will change when Calgary and Edmonton square off at the site of the first regular-season outdoor game, which was contested between Montreal and Edmonton in 2003.

The Flames may regress in 2023-24, and the Oilers may be worse than their 109-point total in 2022-23. But these games are must-see, and the atmosphere will only be enhanced by a split crowd and the epic Alberta scenery.

4. Chicago Blackhawks @ Edmonton Oilers

Rogers Place, Tuesday, Dec. 12 (10 p.m. ET)

The first Connor McDavid vs. Connor Bedard showdown of many. Bedard, who the Blackhawks picked first at the 2023 draft, has been compared to McDavid, the three-time MVP who won the Hart, Rocket Richard, Ted Lindsay, and Art Ross Trophies in 2023.

More: Chicago Blackhawks Supercharge Rebuild with Bedard Pick, Trades

But this will also be a homecoming for Taylor Hall, who some may forget started his career in Edmonton after the Oilers chose him with the first pick in 2010. Hall, who Chicago acquired from Boston on June 27, was McDavid’s mentor his first year in the NHL and will now be tasked with mentoring Bedard in Chicago.

5. Seattle Kraken @ Vegas Golden Knights

T-Mobile Arena, Tuesday, Oct. 10 (10 p.m. ET; ESPN)

See above about a Kraken-Golden Knights rivalry game.

The Golden Knights will raise their Stanley Cup banner before this one, and it should be worth tuning in if only to see the show Vegas puts on while celebrating.

6. Vegas Golden Knights @ Florida Panthers

FLA Live Arena, Saturday Dec. 23 (3 p.m. ET)

Panthers fans will probably have this one circled on the calendar all season. Florida will welcome back the reigning Stanley Cup champs for the first time since it lost to Vegas in five games in the Cup Final.

You can bet Florida fans will be out for blood, and the Panthers will be out for payback. Add the fact this will be the last game for each team before the league’s annual three-day Christmas break, and it’ll be one to keep an eye on.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs @ Buffalo Sabres

KeyBank Center, Wednesday, Dec. 21 (7 p.m. ET)

These games are fun since Leafs fans make the short ride down the QEW and over the Peace Bridge to invade the Sabres’ home.

Buffalo only missed the playoffs by one point last season and is a chic pick to end its NHL-long 12-year postseason drought. To do so, the Sabres will have to defend home ice against the Atlantic Division, especially against the Leafs, who they haven’t beat in the U.S. since March 5, 2018.

8. Florida Panthers @ Boston Bruins

TD Garden, Monday, Oct. 30 (7 p.m. ET)

The Bruins could look completely different from the team that won 65 games and put up 135 points last season. This should be a good barometer for what should again be two of the best teams in the Atlantic Division.

Plus, Boston fans have long memories, and they surely won’t forget the Panthers ending their team’s historic season in overtime of Game 7 of the first round in April. They will be out for vengeance.

9. New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils

Prudential Center, Saturday, Nov. 18 (7 p.m. ET)

These games are must-watch anyway, especially in Newark where the crowds are almost evenly split. This marks the first game between the division rivals since their hotly contested seven-game playoff series last April.

The Rangers are star-laden, and the Devils leveled up this offseason, which will make this a great early-season litmus test for each side.

10. Edmonton Oilers @ Arizona Coyotes

Mullett Arena, Thursday, April 17 (9 p.m. ET)

Aside from it being another opportunity to watch McDavid and the high-flying Oilers, this could be the Coyotes’ final game in Arizona.

The franchise will need to come up with an arena resolution at some point during the 2023-24 season. Playing at the 4,600-seat rink on Arizona State’s campus surely won’t cut it for much longer.

If the Coyotes can’t find a new home in the desert, the NHL may look to relocate them to Salt Lake City, Houston, or somewhere else. An NHL team hasn’t moved since 2011, when the Atlanta Thrashers went north of the border to Winnipeg, Manitoba.


Pat Pickens

Pat Pickens is a seasoned sportswriter who has covered the NHL since 2013 for various websites, including The New York Times, NHL.com, Sportsnet.ca, USA Today, the Associated Press and many others. His debut book, titled "The Whalers" about the history of the NHL's Hartford Whalers, was released in October 2021.

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