The Tampa Bay Lightning will open their milestone 20th National Hockey League season on Saturday, October 13 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida against their cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers. The Bolts will kick off their 2012-13 home schedule on Tuesday, October 16 against the New York Islanders at the Tampa Bay Times Forum when captain Vincent Lecavalier is expected to play his 1,000th career NHL game. Also at the home opener, the arena will unveil its brand new, $5 million state-of-the-art scoreboard that will be the largest in any arena in the United States and Canada.
The Lightning will play an extremely balanced schedule when it comes to home and road games in 2012-13. They will play no more than one extra game at or away from the Times Forum per month over the course of the campaign. Of their first 46 games from October through January the Bolts will play 23 home contests and 23 on the road. The Lightning will play an equal number of games at the Times Forum opposed to away from it during the months of December (7), January (6), and February (7).
Highlights of the home schedule include three visits from the 2011-12 Southeast Division Champion Panthers, as well as other division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets. The Lightning will also play host of some of the Western Conference’s best teams in 2012-13, including the Minnesota Wild (Nov. 3), the Detroit Red Wings (Nov. 24), the Colorado Avalanche (Dec. 8), the Nashville Predators (Dec. 22), the San Jose Sharks (Feb.14), the Phoenix Coyotes (Mar. 16) and the St. Louis Blues (Apr. 4).
Tampa Bay will play a post-Halloween contest against Winnipeg on November 1 as well as a Valentine’s Day showdown with San Jose on February 14. Just after Thanksgiving, on November 24, the Bolts will welcome in Detroit. They will host a number of games during the holiday season as well, including December 20 against the Anaheim Ducks, December 22 against Nashville, December 27 against Montreal and December 29 against the New York Rangers. Tampa Bay will be off for the NHL’s annual all-star break from January 23-28.
The Lightning’s preseason schedule and single-game ticket on-sale will be released at a later date.
The best way to catch all the exhilarating action of the 2012-13 Lightning season is by becoming a Season Ticket Member. Packages start as low as $774 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. Please note that due to demand jersey supply is limited.
At the Tampa Bay Times Forum
Of the Lightning’s 41 home games, they will play a season-high 13 on Thursday and Tuesday nights. They will also play 10 games on Saturdays, three on Fridays and two on Mondays. They will not play any games on Wednesdays or Sundays. Tampa Bay’s longest home stand will be six games from March 7-18 with games against Winnipeg, Montreal, Carolina, the Islanders, Phoenix and the Philadelphia Flyers. They will also play four consecutive games at home from November 6-13. The Bolts will host three home stands consisting of three games each.
On the Road
The Bolts will not have any extended road trips in 2012-13. Their longest trip will be four games, which they will play on three separate occasions; November 25 through December 1, December 31 through January 8 and February 5-10. They will also have five trips consisting of three games. They will play just a single road game seven times. Tampa Bay will play a season-high 13 road games on Saturdays, followed by seven on Tuesdays and Sundays, four on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as three on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Lightning will play a total of 13 sets of back-to-back games in 2012-13. Of those, 10 will occur with both games on the road. They will play one set of games with the first on the road and the second at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and two with the reverse. Tampa Bay will not play any back-to-backs with both games at home.