- Editor's Note: Sheng Peng will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports California’s Sharks coverage. You can read more of his coverage on San Jose Hockey Now, listen to him on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @Sheng_Peng.
The San Jose Sharks have never had a harder start to a season.
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The Sharks open their 32nd NHL campaign against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night at SAP Center.
This begins an eight-game gauntlet: After the defending champs, San Jose takes on the 2022 Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, 2023 Eastern Conference finalist Carolina Hurricanes, 2023 President’s Trophy winner Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, 2023 Stanley Cup finalist Florida Panthers, 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, then Carolina again.
That’s seven 2022-23 playoff squads in the first eight games – and the Preds, who missed the post-season by just three points, are no pushover – four of these contests versus three of last year’s Conference finalists.
“The schedule is what it is," Sharks coach David Quinn said. "You got to play these teams eventually. If you’re sitting here worried about who you’re playing and you wish you had a different schedule, you’re already behind the eight-ball. If you’re hiding from these types of challenges, then we got the wrong people here.”