TAMPA — The Lightning will open the 2021 season — and raise a second Stanley Cup championship banner — on Jan. 13 with a matchup against the Blackhawks at Amalie Arena.
In the schedule for the NHL’s abbreviated 56-game regular season released Wednesday, Tampa Bay will play eight games against each of its seven new Central Division opponents: Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida and Nashville.
Divisions were realigned and conferences abolished for this season to limit travel because of the coronavirus. The Central is one of four divisions.
The unique part of the schedule is that teams will play mostly two-game series against the same opponent with at least one day off between games. Most road trips will be two-city jaunts.
The Lightning have one three-game series, March 4, 5 and 7 in Chicago. They will play single games three times, twice at home against Florida — their nearest opponent — on Feb. 16 and May 4, and once in Chicago on April 27 before a two-game series in Detroit.
Tampa Bay will play Dallas for the first time since beating it in the Stanley Cup final last season in a two-game home series Jan. 17 and 19.
The Lightning also will play the Stars at home Feb. 27 and March 1, and in Dallas on Feb. 18 and 20, and March 23 and 25.
Tampa Bay will make its first road trip with two games at Columbus on Jan. 21 and 23, then two games in Carolina on Jan. 26 and 28.
The Lightning’s longest home span will be from April 15-25, a six-game stretch in which they will play two games each against Florida, Carolina and Columbus.
Tampa Bay is scheduled to finish the regular season with five of its last six games on the road, concluding with two games at Florida on May 6 and 8.
Game times were not announced.
In an email sent to season-ticket holders Monday, the Lightning said that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend home games, with information on how many and how tickets can be purchased announced in the coming days. Season-ticket holders will receive first priority.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.
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