Building off Josh Yohe’s always fun rankings of road cities in the NHL, since it’s still summer and early enough to plan, here are the top- 10 best Penguins games for the 2022-23 season to try and catch in person, at least ahead of time. With injuries and teams rising and falling during the season, anything could happen to de-value some of these experiences, but this far out for planning purposes here are the games one would most want to see live and in person.
Part 1 of the annual travel guide for Penguins fans looking to hit the road has arrived. We have a new last place trip. Unless you really need to see the Liberty Bell, stay away. Anyway, enjoy. Part 2 comes next week: https://t.co/sS36uXU3O3— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) August 12, 2022
#10: Thursday January 5th, @ Vegas
As a rule, when the NHL schedule comes out, one of the first things I look for is what day the Penguins play in Las Vegas. Truth be told, this is actually about as rotten of a date on the calendar as could be, and almost didn’t make my list. (If only the Pens @ Nashville game wasn’t saddled on a Tuesday, in another unfortunately timed spot...). Also something to keep in mind, perhaps contrary to popular opinion, it’s not usually that warm in Vegas in January, which makes for another bummer.
For a fan trip, it stinks because it’s just after the Christmas-New Years week, and everyone will probably be ready to get back to the grind and not more revelry. For the team, it stinks because it’s the game following the outdoor game. Could be hangovers all around this week.
But, if you’ve never been to a hockey game in Vegas, put it on your bucket list if it’s not there already. Calling things “unique” can be a cliche, but it truly is a unique presentation of the game with the arena atmosphere and festivities. All those good and fun points out-weigh the negatives of the placement this year.
#9 - Saturday March 18th, @NY Rangers, 8pm
It’s the Big Apple, enough said. To say more, this will be the third Pens/Rangers game of the week. The teams will be fed up and fired up to see each other, and perhaps jockeying over playoff positioning by this point deep in the season. Making a spring weekend trip to NYC is always a good idea, and this game fits in nicely as a capstone for such a plan with a pilgrimage to the World’s Most Famous Arena.
#8 - Tuesday February 7th, vs. Colorado
The Stanley Cup champs only come to Pittsburgh once, and the Pens’ trip to Denver is awkwardly on a Wednesday. That probably makes the better chance to see Nathan MacKinnon play his old buddy Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh for most fans reading this website. The Pens/Avalanche games last season were some of the best pure hockey contests of the season (even though Pittsburgh fell short in both games), this will be a tough game and a win isn’t guaranteed. But that goal horn will sound all the sweeter if it does happen.
#7 - Thursday February 23rd, vs. Edmonton
Any Connor McDavid/Sidney Crosby potential matchup is a big deal. Pittsburgh plays out in Edmonton on October 24th, this is the only time the Oilers are coming to town. I didn’t want to make this list completely be road games, and getting all the way up and out to Edmonton can be a difficult venture. So why not let them come to town and see some home cooking?
#6 - Saturday March 25th, vs. Washington, 8pm
It’s the Penguins and Capitals, and already announced for prime time and not a matinee. The energy inside PPG Paints should be rockin’ for Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin, in the Caps’ lone visit to Pittsburgh this season. This is another game that can already be penciled in to be a very big swing in the divisional standings and effect the playoff picture. Plus, it should be getting a little warm and maybe not be a gray day in Pittsburgh, which just makes all the factors even better.
#5 - Saturday April 8th, @Detroit
As Yohe said, Detroit is something of a hidden gem and low-key great place for a NHL road destination. You’ve got the casinos and Windsor (ON) right there for fun. The Little Caesers Arena is a sight to behold as one of the top new venues in the game. It’s not too far for even a road trip from Pittsburgh. And the weather should be breaking by now and it might be a nice spring weekend in Michigan.
#4 - Saturday April 1st, Boston, 3pm
A good spring afternoon game is always fun. The Bruins come to town, should be a quality game and gives plenty of time before and after to take in all the fun of Pittsburgh. This is the best time of year for hockey when the teams start to get very serious about gearing up for the playoffs and should make for an intense and fun game. Plus, you can taunt Brad Marchand.
#3 - Thursday March 2nd, @Tampa
If you’re itching for a little spring break action, the first part of March is a perfect time for it. The Pens go to Tampa for this game, two days later they will be in Sunrise, Florida to take on the Panthers if you want to make the whole weekend trip out of it. But that area the arena is a little remote from Miami/Fort Lauderdale and far from a great in-house experience. Tampa, on the other hand, is something to behold. The outdoor area near the arena sees bands playing and people walking around carrying drinks to enjoy some nice weather prior to the game.
Also, you would never guess it, but trust me — the poutine at Tampa’s arena is some of the best you can get stateside. Makes no sense, but I promise it’s true. The fans are friendly, the people are in good moods, it’s a great place to catch a game and perfectly time to get out of the cold.
#2 - Saturday November 12th, @ Montreal
Saturday night, prime time, Hockey Night in Canada. The buzz in Montreal is already top flight, add these factors in and this game goes really highly on my list. It’s not deep enough into winter where travel should be much of an issue, and this place is just a modern cathedral of hockey with the tradition and electricity in the air for a big time game. It just doesn’t get much better than this for an NHL experience then the Pens playing in Montreal on a Saturday night.
#1 - Monday January 2nd, @ Boston (Fenway Park, NHL Winter Classic), 2pm
Outdoor games can draw a mixed reaction, especially as a television viewing experience. Live and in person there is nothing like so many people all coming together for an outdoor hockey game. The Fenway Park venue is iconic in baseball, and already worked in 2010 as a Winter Classic spot. “Only” 38,000 people fit in for the first one, so it’s on the slighter end of attendance compared to the 68k fans in
Heinz err Corporate sponsor Field in Pittsburgh.
The only aspect that stinks is that it’s not a true New Year Day game. Do you go to Boston for NYE and then take in the town for a full day? Might be the play.
A Winter Classic experience is always the capstone of the whole NHL season, and this year it’ll be fun to see the Penguins in person and in their ownership’s baseball stadium.