The Tampa Bay Lightning has changed the start times on its Saturday home games at the St. Pete Times Forum to 7 p.m. The change, Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett said, was to make the start time more "fan friendly." Weekday games remain at 7:30 p.m, giving fans the extra 30 minutes to get away from work.
Other highlights of the schedule released on Thursday:
* The team begins the season with a five-game road trip to Carolina, Boston, Washington, the Islanders and Florida. The trip, the longest of the season, gives the Times Forum renovations some extra time to get done, though Wickett said the team did not request the season-opening trip.
* The season opener is Oct. 7 at Carolina. The home opener is Oct. 17 against the Panthers.
* The season ends with five of seven on the road, but overall Tampa Bay plays 21 of its final 35 games at the Times Forum, including a season-high 10 home games in March.
* Steve Yzerman makes his first trip to Detroit as Lightning GM on Nov. 30.
* The Lightning has 10 sets of back-to-back games.
*There are three trips to Winnipeg, including the April 7 season finale, as part of the Atlanta franchise's relocation.
* There is a seven-game home stand from March 10-24.
* Tampa Bay will not visit western Canada, Los Angeles or Anaheim.
You can view the entire schedule here.