NHL 2021-22 season schedule features Lightning, Kraken on opening night

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The Tampa Bay Lightning will hold their Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony, and the Seattle Kraken will play their first regular-season game when the 2021-22 NHL season opens Oct. 12.

The League released its 1,312-game schedule, 82 for each team, on Thursday. 

The Lightning will raise their third championship banner and second in as many seasons before they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in the first of two games opening night (Tampa Bay also won the Cup in 2004). In the second game, the Kraken will begin play as the NHL’s 32nd team when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas became the League’s 31st team in 2017-18.

 

[RELATED: 2021-22 Regular Season Schedule]

 

The Kraken, who selected 30 players in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck on Wednesday, will play their first five games on the road before playing their home opener against the Vancouver Canucks at Climate Pledge Arena on Oct. 23.

The New York Islanders will play their first game in their new home, UBS Arena, against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 20 after beginning the season with 13 road games to allow for the completion of construction.

The Montreal Canadiens will host the Lightning in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final at Bell Centre on Dec. 7.

The schedule includes two outdoor games. The Minnesota Wild will host the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 1 in the 2022 NHL Winter Classic at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the MLB’s Minnesota Twins, in a game originally scheduled for Jan. 1, 2021. The Nashville Predators will face the Lightning on Feb. 26 in the 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

The Golden Knights will host the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at T-Mobile Arena, featuring the 2022 NHL All-Star Skills on Feb. 4 and the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Feb. 5.

All-Star Weekend will be followed by a pause in games from Feb. 7-22 if the League reaches an agreement with the NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation for NHL players to participate in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Talks continue on outstanding issues, including securing appropriate COVID-19 insurance.

The NHL and NHLPA retain the authority to decide not to participate in the Olympics should COVID-19 conditions worsen or otherwise pose a threat to the health and safety of the players, or for any other reason that may warrant such a decision. If NHL players don’t participate, the League will release a revised schedule that, to the greatest extent possible, will adopt the dates and games from the schedule announced Thursday.

If NHL players participate in the Olympics, the regular season will resume Feb. 23 and conclude April 29 with 30 of the 32 teams in action.

After temporarily realigning and reducing to a 56-game, intradivisional schedule this season because of COVID-19, the NHL will return to its previous schedule format, with each team playing all the others at least twice, and its previous divisional alignment, with the Metropolitan Division and Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference and the Central Division and Pacific Division in the Western Conference.

Each team will play three or four games against the seven other teams in its division, three games against the eight teams in the other division in its conference and two games against the 16 teams from the other conference.

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