September 30, 2009

NHL regular season opens Thursday

The Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks, both winners of 53 games last season, will highlight the action Thursday on the opening night of the NHL campaign.

San Jose finished atop the Western Conference in the regular season, only to fall in the opening round of the playoffs. Boston led the Eastern Conference, then dropped out in the second round.

Boston will open the season at home Thursday against Washington and San Jose will travel to Colorado, which finished last in the West a year ago.

The other opening-night games will send Vancouver to Calgary and Montreal to Toronto.

The NHL's opening week will also feature a pair of two-game series in Europe. Detroit and St. Louis will play Friday and Saturday in Stockholm and Florida will meet Chicago the same days in Helsinki.

A dozen games will be played in North America Saturday, featuring the opener for the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. They will visit the New York Islanders.

Pittsburgh came back from a 3-2 deficit to down Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals.