The NHL has released the schedule for the upcoming season with the Florida Panthers set to face off at home against their state (sorta) rival Tampa Bay Lightning on October 13th at 7:30 EST. Though the game won't exactly be a big part of NBCSN's opening weekend, Panthers fans can rest assured their team won't be the last to open their season as they did in 2010 at Edmonton...they'll just be the last Eastern Conference team to take the ice along with the Lightning. Buried much? To make up for it, at least the Panthers' first game will be at home; something that hasn't happened since the opener against Boston in 2006.
Some key dates follow:
- Oct. 13th home opener vs Tampa Bay
- Nov. 6th playoff rematch at New Jersey
- Dec. 6th Panthers get a crack at the defending champs at Los Angeles
- Mar. 8th Tallon gets to flaunt his success vs Chicago
- Apr. 13th end of regular season vs Pittsburgh
Florida will play their division rivals six times each, conference rivals four times each and Western conference rivals at least once. The Panthers will play Los Angeles, Nashville and Colorado twice each(in other words, I get to see the Panthers in Denver again!). The longest homestand is 7 games from late February to early March while the longest road swing is at five games (twice, once in January and again in March).