The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced their 82-game regular season schedule for the 2013-14 season today. The season will lead up to the 10-year anniversary of the franchise’s first and only Stanley Cup Championship, which Tampa Bay captured on June 7, 2004. Different this season will be a new division alignment and schedule format as the league goes to four-divisions instead of six. Under the new system, all 29 other NHL teams will visit the Tampa Bay Times Forum in 2013-14.
The Lightning’s new division, named the Atlantic Division, includes four “Original Six” teams, including the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Lea fs. Also included are the Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators. Tampa Bay will play each divisional opponent four times, two at home and two on the road, with the exception of Ottawa (3 home, 2 away) and Detroit (2 home, 3 away) which the Bolts will play five times.
The Lightning will open the 2013-14 season on the road against Boston.
The Lightning will play each of their non-division opponents within the Eastern Conference three times. Of the eight non-divisional opponents, the Bolts will play the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders at the Times Forum on two occasions. The remaining four teams, the New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets, they will play once at home.
Also new to league scheduling this season, Tampa Bay will play two games, one at home and one on the road, against each Western Conference team. That includes the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, who will visit the Times Forum on October 24.
Fans can catch all the action, and get a revolutionary STM micro-chipped Lightning jersey used for great discounts, by becoming a Lightning Season Ticket Member for as little as just $18 per game. For more information call 813.301.6600. Half season and 10-game plans are expected to be made available for purchase as early as next week. Single game tickets will go on sale at a later date.
At the Tampa Bay Times Forum
The Lightning will make their home debut at the Times Forum on Thursday, October 10 against their intra-state rival, the Panthers. That game will kick off a seven-game home-stand, the longest string of the season, and includes the Stanley Cup Champion from each of the previous five seasons, in the Chicago Blackhawks (2013, 2010), Pittsburgh (2009), Los Angeles Kings (2012) and Boston Bruins (2011). In all, the home stand will span more than two weeks. The Bolts will also finish the season with 14 of their final 20 games at the Times Forum. The stretch also consists of a pair of six-game home-stands, tied for the second-longest of the season. Tampa Bay will host new division opponent Detroit, also new to the Eastern Conference, on December 12 and February 8.
On the Road
The Bolts will open the season with a three-game road trip that will head through the two cities that hosted the Stanley Cup Final in 2013, opening in Boston on October 3 and then playing in Chicago on October 5. That season-opening trip then concludes in Buffalo on October 8. Tampa Bay will not have a road trip longer than four games in 2013-14. There are four four-game trips scheduled, including one to Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim (November 16-22), as well as another to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg (January 1-7). The Lightning will also have six three-game trips, one with two games and five trips to play just one game.
The Lightning will play 12 sets of back-to- back games in 2013-14, including two in which with both games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (December 28 vs. Montreal/December 29 vs. NY Rangers, April 10 vs. Philadelphia/April 11 vs. Columbus). Tampa Bay will play three sets of back-to-back games with one at home and the other on the road. Of those three contests, two of the will be played with the home game on the front end. The Lightning will play seven pairs of games on consecutive nights on the road, including three sets during the month of March.
The League will pause from February 9-25, 2014, while NHL players comprise the majority of the rosters of the national teams competing in Sochi for Olympic gold. The NHL season resumes Wednesday, Feb. 26 with a slate of four games.
- Training Camp Opens: Wednesday, Sept. 11
- Exhibition Games Begin: Friday, Sept. 13
- Regular Season Opens: Tuesday, Oct. 1
- Hall of Fame Game: Friday, Nov. 8
- Christmas Break: Tuesday, Dec. 24 – Thursday, Dec. 26
- Hockey Day In Canada: Saturday, Jan. 18
- Olympic Break: Sunday, Feb. 9 – Tuesday, Feb. 25
- Hockey Day In America: Sunday, March 2
- Last Day of Regular Season: Sunday, April 13
- Stanley Cup Playoffs Begin: Wednesday, April 16