Open up your calendar app, folks, you've got 82 nights to block off from October through April. (Or, better yet, click here to sync automatically!)
That's right, the 2017-18 NHL schedule is finally here! Here's a (condensed) list of what awaits your favorite Cats this winter.
1) Good news!
With last year's schedule condensed due to the World Cup of Hockey, the Cats had a staggering 19 sets of back-to-back games. This year, that number's been reduced to a more manageable 15. Eight of those are road-road, three are home-home, and the other four have one of each. Speaking of…
2) Bring on the Bolts
The Cats will open up in the state of Florida, but not on home ice. That's right - they're making the trek across Alligator Alley to battle the Tampa Bay Lightning to open their season on October 6. Both teams are back at it the next day, but the Cats will play host.
Home opener. Saturday. Two heated rivals facing off for the second night in a row. It's a veritable powder keg, and you won't want to miss it.
3) Weekend Cats
Is Saturday your favorite day? (Don't answer that - we know it is.)
Well, your Saturdays are about to get better - the Cats play more Saturday games than any other day of the week, with 21 total contests. Better yet, 13 of those are in the friendly confines. Here's the full day-by-day breakdown:
Monday: 4 home, 5 away
Tuesday: 4 home, 13 away
Wednesday: 1 home, 2 away
Thursday: 11 home, 6 away
Friday: 7 home, 3 away
Saturday: 13 home, 8 away
Sunday: 1 home, 4 away
As it is in life (or, at least, in college), the real party happens Thursday through Saturday. Sorry, Wednesday, you're just not as fun.
4) Skymall Shoppin'
The Panthers will cover more than 40,000 miles this season. That's a lot! For the normal person, that's quite a few airline miles (and probably some pretty sweet rewards). More importantly, that would give the average person a LOT of time to peruse Skymall, and thus would lead to some impulse purchase of the highest quality.
For the Panthers players, however, that's a lot of naps.
5) Home Stretch
Nothing matches the intensity of playoff hockey, sure, but the final stretch of the season is pretty darn special in its own right. Luckily for the Cats, they'll fight most of those battles on home ice. Did we say most? We meant "almost all." In the 12-game stretch from Feb. 22 through March 10, the squad will play just one game away from the BB&T Center.
The regular season concludes in April - and all three regular-season Panthers games that month also come on home ice. Not a bad way to finish.