NHL play it pitch perfect with matchup selections for Lake Tahoe event

Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Lake Tahoe and the NHL really is a match made in heaven.

In what was an early treat in 2021, it was reported that four NHL teams will play two outdoor games in the serene setting of the stunning Lake Tahoe.

Per Elliotte Freidman of Sportsnet, the NHL is planning on staging a unique “Outdoor Weekend” showcase at Lake Tahoe, with Edgewood Tahoe Resort set to host these games on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes.

It will take place at the end of February and, according to Freidman, will feature the following four teams:

  • Boston Bruins
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Vegas Golden Knights

The Bruins will take on the Flyers in an East Division matchup, while two Stanley Cup heavyweights in the Avs and the Golden Knights will faceoff against each other.

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It has all the ingredients to be one hell of a fun and highly captivating weekend for the NHL, who have done a great job of choosing these matchups.

Before we delve into why, though, you have to applaud the NHL for trying to be creative in what will be a very weird 2020-21 season.

It will be unlike any other year and, because of the late start date coupled with the shortened  56-game schedule, there will be no Winter Classic or the usual slate of Stadium Series games this season.

Therefore, by putting together a unique weekend at an incredible venue such as Lake Tahoe, the NHL will still be treating its fans to some form of outdoor game with the Winter Classic usually a flagship event on a normal NHL calendar.

And, should this report from Friedman prove true, we will be getting two outdoor games in as many days and both should attract huge TV audiences.

That’s where these compelling matchups come in.

Lake Tahoe
Edgewood Tahoe South course (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

With no fans likely to be permitted at Lake Tahoe, the NHL needed to come up with two games and four teams that were really going to capture the imagination.

They have accomplished that.

For starters, everyone is in agreement that both the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights are built to win right now, but they are also both constructed to be legit contenders for the foreseeable future.

Colorado, in particular, boasts a young core with perhaps one of the most loaded and most talented farm systems in the NHL, so they are setup to potentially create a dynasty of their own.

Vegas on the other hand, is laden with star power and they got even richer this offseason after signing elite defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to a huge seven year, $61,600,000 million contract.

Therefore, the Golden Knights and the Avalanche are destined to slug it out in the Western Conference for years to come, setting up a rivalry that could quickly become one of the most mouthwatering in the entire National Hockey League.

Plus, pitted together in the new-look West Division for the 2020-21 season, the Avs and the Knights will face each other eight times and this meeting at Lake Tahoe could prove crucial in the race for the top seed in the West.

Carter Hart (79)
Carter Hart #79 of the Philadelphia Flyers. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

Then you have the showdown between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers, which is incredibly intriguing in its own right.

For instance, the Bruins have been in win-now mode for a while now and they are awash with firepower thanks to one of the best lines in all of hockey with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

Being an Original Six team means that there is always a plethora of interest in the Bruins, although their window could be closing fast so this season may be their last opportunity to win another ring for the likes of Bergeron, Marchand and goaltender Tuukka Rask.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Flyers, who are well on their way to becoming a major force in the Eastern Conference again having finally found their franchise goalie in young stud Carter Hart.

Hart is part of a core that mixes experience with youth and style with substance to perfection, and they have the perfect Head Coach to guide them to success in the vastly experienced Alain Vigneault.

This could be the year that the Flyers take that next giant leap in their maturation process and, as a result, they could be right there at the top of the East Division with the Boston Bruins.

Plus, there is just something magical about outdoor hockey games and you can be sure that all four teams, who boast superb uniforms anyway, will come up with special jerseys just for these two games.

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It will be breathtaking to see four powerhouses battle it out for precious NHL points with the majestic Lake Tahoe making for a stunning background, and you can be sure that the NHL will ensure that it is the best made-for-TV product possible.

While there will be a lot of work to pull this off, hosting two games at Lake Tahoe between four contenders could prove to be the highlight of what will be a season we will never forget.