The NHL announced its schedule for the 2018-19 season in June, but with the draft and free agency, it was more or less glanced over by many fans.
Columbus will play in 16 back-to-backs, play eight of their last 11 games on the road, and host their season-long six-game home stand in mid-December.
But what individual games stand out on the docket? Let us help.
OPENING NIGHT VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES, 10/05/18
Opening nights are always fun! The first of those 16 vaunted back-to-backs come right off the bat, and after their Oct. 4 meeting at Detroit, they come to Nationwide Arena for a Friday night home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes.
FIRST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON CAPITALS, 11/09/18, AND PITTSBURGH PENGUINS, 11/24/18
So I cheated and combined two games, but the principle is the same here in both instances. The Jackets go on the road for November weekend affairs against their two most recent postseason foes, the past two Stanley Cup champions, and two teams whose fan bases claim they don't have a rivalry with Columbus. Bonus: The Penguins game starts mere hours after the Ohio State vs. Michigan classic.
FIRST HOME GAME AGAINST REIGNING STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS, 12/08/18
The Blue Jackets kick off their season-long six-game home stand on Dec. 8 with the Washington Capitals coming to town for a Saturday night showdown. I don't feel like more needs said here.
NEW YEAR'S EVE VS. OTTAWA, 12/31/18
A season ago, the Blue Jackets looked like they partied to bring in the New Year the day before, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0 in a game that may as well have been 50-0. This year, Columbus hosts what could be a basement-dwelling Senators team in what should be a more raucous crowd.
VIVA LAS VEGAS, 02/09/19
Looking for a road trip? How about a Saturday night game in Las Vegas. Or, for the die-hard fan with a bit of extra PTO floating around, how about a five-day dream road trip, starting in Denver to play the Avalanche on Tuesday (Feb. 5), taking a day off, heading to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale for a Thursday night affair with the Coyotes, before heading to Sin City for Saturday night. You can thank me for the idea with a Venmo donation to make this trip happen.
What other games excite you? Drop us a note in the comments.