A bit lost in the madness of the 2022 NHL Entry Level Draft and the start of free agency, the NHL announced the 2022-23 regular season schedule on Jul. 6. The schedule announcement revealed that the Bruins will open the 2022-23 season on the road against the Washington Capitals, starting their quest for a seventh Stanley Cup.
It had already previously been announced this past spring that the Bruins will be hosting the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, the marquee event of the upcoming season for the team. But, when looking at the schedule, there are several other dates that fans should circle on their calendar.
October 15 vs. Arizona Coyotes
After playing their first game of the season on the road, the Bruins will return to TD Garden for their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 15. They will face the Arizona Coyotes, who have the misfortune of beginning their season on a road trip out east. While they aren’t expected to be contenders this season, the Coyotes should have some interesting young talent playing on their roster this season that will make this game an intriguing matchup.
In addition to seeing some talented young players for the Coyotes, this should also be a chance to see the Bruins’ own young talent get a shot. The team needs to get younger and starting the season without Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk will be a great opportunity to give them a shot. Keep an eye out for guys like Jack Ahcan on the blue line and Jack Studnicka on offense.
October 18 vs. Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators have arguably made the biggest improvements to their roster in recent weeks and are looking like they could be a formidable opponent this season, especially for the Bruins, who may be looking at a real fight with them to get into the playoffs this season.
This will be the first time the two teams will face off in 2022-23 and it will be on the road in Ottawa. The Bruins will be without some of their biggest weapons in Marchand and McAvoy. The first two months of the season will be a big test for the rest of this roster, and this game in particular will be one they won’t want to lose. Winning against divisional rivals may be a big difference maker by the time the postseason rolls around in April.
December 3 vs. Colorado Avalanche
December should be a month on the minds of all Bruins fans. Both Marchand and McAvoy had offseason surgeries and the recovery time puts their expected returns in December. It cannot come soon enough as Boston’s first opponent of the month will be the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche.
With a good chunk of their roster returning, the Avalanche will be a team to watch once again in the 2022-23 season. As the game will be at TD Garden, it should be a fun one for fans to attend and would only be made better by the return of Marchand and McAvoy. It will also be an important matchup to see if this team is a legitimate contender.
Given comments from Bruins management, they want to believe that they are, although with few changes to the roster so far this offseason, it’s hard to feel super confident in their chances. Facing a team like Colorado will be an important litmus test.
Winter Classic: January 2 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
As already mentioned, the Bruins will be hosting this year’s Winter Class on Monday, January 2 at 2:00 PM EST at historic Fenway Park. This will be the Bruins’ fourth time participating in the NHL’s biggest event and their second time hosting it at Fenway. They first hosted there in 2010, facing the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins have also hosted the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots in Foxborough, MA, and attended the 2019 game at Notre Dame Stadium, hosted by the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Winter Classic is always a fun event and there should be no exception for this upcoming season’s event. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a team with a similar makeup as the Bruins: an aging core going through their final years together. Presuming the general manager is able to bring back Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, this may be one of the final matchups of some of the figures who have dominated the NHL for over a decade, and what could be a better venue than Fenway Park?
March 12 vs. Detroit Red Wings
Similar to the Senators, the Detroit Red Wings have made significant improvements to their roster so far this offseason. For the first time in several years, the Bruins may be in real danger of missing the postseason given the high level of competition in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference as a whole.
The Bruins will face the Red Wings for the final time of the season on Mar. 12 in Detroit. It will be right around the NHL Trade Deadline and will be an important time for the team. Will they be in a position to gaining ammo for a deep playoff run or will they be a seller, finally beginning a reset to this current roster?
This game will be a telling one. The Bruins will face the Red Wings the night before as well in Boston before both teams travel to Detroit to face off the next day. If the season does not go as planned, this may be the metaphorical torch passing from one franchise to another.
Bruins Need to Pick Up the Pace
The 2022-23 season is going to be incredibly challenging if the Bruins don’t make some more moves this offseason. They were outplayed in the 2022 Playoffs, resulting in a first-round exit, and outside of acquiring Pavel Zacha for Erik Haula, they have yet to make significant moves to improve the roster.
Part of the issue is how little cap space the Bruins have. Given that they have yet to buy out any contracts, they don’t even realistically have enough to bring back Bergeron and Krejci, let alone a defenseman to bolster their blue line depth.
Given the injury situation, there is a serious threat that the 2022-23 season could get away from the Bruins real quick if they are not careful.