Lightning-Predators will play outdoor game next season

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TAMPA — The Lightning will visit the Nashville Predators next year for the NHL Stadium Series on Feb. 26, playing in the Tennessee Titans’ Nissan Stadium.

It’s the first outdoor game for the Lightning in the franchise’s 28-year history. This will be Nashville’s second.

Of the 32 teams in the league (including the Seattle Kraken, who will take the ice next season for the first time), 26 have played outside. The Lightning will be the 27th.

“How cool is that,” coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday. “I wasn’t really expecting that. You’re just so dialed into your series now and to find out we’re going to play in an outdoor game is super cool.”

Cooper said he’ll never forget watching Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby scoring in the snow against Buffalo’s Ryan Miller in the Penguins’ 2-1 shootout win in the 2008 Winter Classic.

And while Cooper doubts there’ll be snow on the ground when the two teams hit the ice, he’s really excited about the opportunity.

“To be a part of that and kind of the reopening of the league after what’s gone on here for the last two years is awesome,” he said.

“And to be invited to those games, your team has to have had some positive impact on the league I believe. These guys deserve to be on the national stage, which we are now, and I’m really happy for the players that get to play in a pretty environment that I expect will happen in Nashville.”

The most recent Stadium Series game, pre-pandemic, was played in Falcon Stadium on Feb. 15, 2020, between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche with 43,574 fans.

On Feb. 21, 2015, the Kings and Sharks brought in the most fans for a Stadium Series game to date with 70,205 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Lightning-Predators matchup is the second outdoor game of the 2021-22 season. The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild will meet in the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field (home of the MLB’s Twins) in Minneapolis on Jan. 1.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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