The Tampa Bay Lightning will open their 19th National Hockey League season on Friday, October 7 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina against the division-rival Carolina Hurricanes. The game is the first in a season-long, five-game road trip the Lightning will play to open the season. The Bolts will play their home opener on Monday, October 17 against the Florida Panthers, giving fans their first look at a newly-renovated St. Pete Times Forum after the completion of a $35 million arena transformation.
During the first half of the season (41 games) the Bolts will play 17 games at home while hitting the ice away from the Times Forum 24 times. The second half of the year will see the Lightning play a heavier home schedule. They will play 10 of 15 games during March at the St. Pete Times Forum before finishing the season by playing six of eight on the road, including the season finale in Winnipeg.
Highlights of the home schedule include a visit from Winnipeg, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers, on Saturday, October 29 as well as an afternoon matinee against this past season’s first-round playoff opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on Sunday, January 15 at 1 p.m. The Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks will pay Tampa Bay a visit on Tuesday, January 10, while the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins will descend on the Bay Area for the first time in 2011-12 on Tuesday, January 17.
Of the Bolts’ 41 home games, 23 of them will be played on a Thursday (9), Friday (2) or Saturday (12) night. They will also play 12 games on Tuesday. The Lightning will host the Toronto Maple Leafs just before Thanksgiving on Tuesday, November 22. They will also host three home games during the holiday season on Tuesday, December 27 against the Philadelphia Flyers, Thursday, December 29 against the Montreal Canadiens, and on New Year’s Eve against the Hurricanes at 5 p.m.
Tampa Bay will also play host to a number of Western Conference teams this season that do not make frequent trips to the Bay Area. Those teams include Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks (November 4), Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames (December 15), Roberto Luongo and the Canucks (January 10), Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets (January 24), Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings (February 7), Dan Boyle and the San Jose Sharks (February 16), Corey Perry and the Anaheim Ducks (February 21) as well as Taylor Hall and the Edmonton Oilers (March 22).
The best way to catch all the exhilarating action of the 2011-12 Lightning season is by investing in season tickets. Packages start as low as $599 and include a microchip-enabled jersey that gives the bearer 25 percent off food and beverage, as well as 35 percent off merchandise, concert and event priority, guaranteed giveaways, “Cheer Now, Pay Later” priority for the playoffs and more. For more information, call 813.301.6600.
At the St. Pete Times Forum
The Lightning will play their longest home stand of the season from March 10-24, a seven-game stint with contests against the Eastern Conference Champion Bruins, Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, as well as the Oilers and the St. Louis Blues from the Western Conference. In all, the Bolts will have one five-game home stand (January 24-February 7), one four-game home stand (February 14-21) and one with three games (December 27-31). Tampa Bay will play a season-high 10 games at home during the month of March.
On the road
The Lightning will not play any extended road trips in 2011-12, with their longest being a five-game stretch from October 7-15 to open the season. They will also play one four-game trip from December 5-10. This season the Bolts will visit the Western Conference’s Nashville Predators (October 27), St. Louis Blues (November 12), Minnesota Wild (November 28), Detroit Red Wings (November 30), Columbus Blue Jackets (December 17), San Jose Sharks (December 21), Colorado Avalanche (December 23), Dallas Stars (January 20) and Phoenix Coyotes (January 21). The schedule also features three Southeast Division games in Winnipeg as the city welcomes back NHL hockey.
Back to back
The Lightning will participate in 10 sets of back-to-back games in 2011-12, playing seven of those sets with both contests on the road and two with the first game at home. Tampa Bay will also play one set with the second game at home (November 25-26).
|Month ||Home ||Away ||Total |
|October ||4 ||7 ||11 |
|November ||6 ||7 ||13 |
|December ||6 ||7 ||13 |
|January ||6 ||6 ||12 |
|February ||8 ||6 ||14 |
|March ||10 ||5 ||15 |
|April ||1 ||3 ||4 |
View the complete 2011-12 season schedule.