TAMPA — Lightning fans started counting down the days when the Lightning recently announced its home opener against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 3.
Now they can plan out their entire 2019-20 season with the release today of the full schedule.
Here are some of the upcoming season’s highlights:
Home ice for five straight games
The Lightning will have home ice advantage for five straight games leading into the last part of the season. Tampa Bay will start its homestand against Toronto on Feb. 25 and end it March 5 against Montréal. The Lightning will play in its second-longest homestand twice this season. The team will play on home ice Dec. 12-Dec. 19, hosting four opponents before it travels to Washington D.C. to play the Capitals on Dec. 21. The Lightning will have another four-game homestand on March 25-March 31 before it closes out the regular season on the road against the Blue Jackets and the Red Wings.
On the road for a bit
The Lightning will endure its longest road stint at the beginning of the season, starting with its second game of the year against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 5 and capping the six-game road stretch Oct. 17 at the Boston Bruins. There is a three-day period in between the Lightning-Hurricanes contest on the 6th and the Lightning-Toronto matchup on the 10th so its likely the team will try to come home briefly. The last time the Lightning faced this many road games in a row was in 2017-18 when Tampa Bay played eight opponents before returning to home ice. Last season, the Lightning had four four-game stints on the road.
Match of the season
Every Lightning fan remembers the feeling of looking at last year’s schedule and realizing Tampa Bay would have to wait until its last month of the regular season to avenge a devastating 2018 Eastern Conference Finals exit to the Capitals. Now there’s a new enemy on the horizon and the Lightning won’t see the Blue Jackets, who knocked them out of the playoffs in the first round, until Feb. 10 at Columbus. The series with the Blue Jackets will last until the second-to-last game of the regular season.
Other notable opponents
Oct. 17, Lightning at Bruins
Nov. 19, Lightning at Blues
Nov. 29, Lightning at Washington
The Lightning will have off Jan. 18-Jan. 26 for its All-Star break, with the All-Star weekend beginning Jan. 24 in St. Louis. The break will be a nice touch for the Lightning as the team will be coming off 13 games in 21 days, including four back-to-backs.
By the numbers
41, home games
15, back-to-backs (the toughest will be an Ottawa game on Jan. 4 and Carolina matchup on Jan. 5 and only three are back-to-back home games)
8, longest stretch in between games (including the All-Star break)
6, longest stretch in between games (excluding the All-Star break)
6, longest road stretch
5, longest home stand
Contact Mari Faiello at email@example.com. Follow @faiello_mari.