Panthers announce schedule with opener set for Oct. 14. Rematch with Lightning soon after

·5 min read

After one of the best seasons in franchise history, the Florida Panthers will be back in action in October to kick off the 2021-22 NHL season.

The Panthers will play open the season with a pair of home games in Sunrise on Oct. 14 and 16, against the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders, respectively, and they’ll close the season April 29 against the Montreal Canadiens. They’ll have their first meeting against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 19 in Tampa. They’ll return to Amalie Arena on Nov. 13, and host their in-state rival Dec. 30 and April 24 for their home finale.

Florida will also get to play every team in the NHL next season after only playing its seven Central Division opponents in the shortened, realigned 2020-21 NHL season. After playing only 56 games last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL is back to its usual 82-game slate and teams are back in their old divisions, which means the Panthers are back in the Atlantic Division with the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Canadiens and Tampa Bay.

The league has also built in a break for the 2022 Winter Olympics in February. The NHL, however, has still not committed to having its players compete in Beijing. Florida will not play between Feb. 1 and 24. The league will also hold the 2022 NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas during the Olympic break.

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Times and TV schedules will be announced at a later date. The league unveiled the schedule Thursday on ESPN.

The Panthers’ four longest homestands are a series of four-game sets at the BB&T Center from Nov. 16-24, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, Dec. 29-Jan. 4 and Feb. 24-March 5. Florida will play 8 of 9 games at home from Nov. 16-Dec. 4 and the Dec. 9-Jan. 4 homestand includes a game on New Year’s Day against Montreal.

With the Canadiens and Lightning in the Atlantic, the Panthers are in the same division as the two Stanley Cup finalists from the previous season for the second straight year.

Florida’s longest road trip is in March, when it plays seven in a row from March 13-27. The Panthers will play nine road games in the month.

Florida will also have its first meetings with the Seattle Kraken this season. The Panthers will host the Kraken — and former goaltender Chris Driedger — on Nov. 27 and go to Seattle on Jan. 23.

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With the Kraken giving the league 32 teams, each team will play a home-and-home with its nonconference opponents, to go along with 26 divisional games and 24 against conference opponents outside the division.

“We are so excited to return to a traditional 82-game season for 2021-22 at BB&T Center. Panthers fans can enjoy all 31 NHL opponents including exciting matchups expanding into April and featuring key opponents on holiday weekends,” president Matt Caldwell said in a statement. “We are grateful for the support of our fans and Territory Members, and can’t wait to welcome everyone back on opening night.”

With the league back to a normal format for the regular season, the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs will be back to normal, as well, with the top three teams from each division guaranteed a spot, along with the two teams with the next best records in each conference.

Here’s the Panthers full schedule for the 2021-22 season:

  • Oct. 14: vs. Penguins

  • Oct. 16: vs. Islanders

  • Oct. 19: at Lightning

  • Oct. 21: vs. Avalanche

  • Oct. 23: at Flyers

  • Oct. 25: vs. Coyotes

  • Oct. 27: vs. Bruins

  • Oct. 29: at Red Wings

  • Oct. 30: at Bruins

  • Nov. 4: vs. Capitals

  • Nov. 6: vs. Hurricanes

  • Nov. 8: at Rangers

  • Nov. 9: at Devils

  • Nov. 11: at Penguins

  • Nov. 13: at Lightning

  • Nov. 16: vs. Islanders

  • Nov. 18: vs. Devils

  • Nov. 20: vs. Wild

  • Nov. 24: vs. Flyers

  • Nov. 26: at Capitals

  • Nov. 27: vs. Kraken

  • Nov. 30: vs. Capitals

  • Dec. 2: vs. Sabres

  • Dec. 4: vs. Blues

  • Dec. 7: at Blues

  • Dec. 10: at Coyotes

  • Dec. 12: at Avalanche

  • Dec 14: vs. Senators

  • Dec. 16: vs. Kings

  • Dec. 18: at Wild

  • Dec. 21: at Blackhawks

  • Dec. 23: vs. Predators

  • Dec. 27: at Hurricanes

  • Dec. 29: vs. Rangers

  • Dec. 30: vs. Lightning

  • Jan. 1: vs. Canadiens

  • Jan. 4: vs. Flames

  • Jan. 6: at Stars

  • Jan. 8: at Hurricanes

  • Jan. 11: vs. Canucks

  • Jan. 14: vs. Stars

  • Jan. 15: vs. Blue Jackets

  • Jan. 18: at Flames

  • Jan. 20: at Oilers

  • Jan. 21: at Canucks

  • Jan. 23: at Kraken

  • Jan. 25: at Jets

  • Jan. 27: vs. Golden Knights

  • Jan. 29: vs. Sharks

  • Jan. 31: at Blue Jackets

  • Feb. 1: at Rangers

  • Feb. 24: vs. Blue Jackets

  • Feb. 26: vs. Oilers

  • March 3: vs. Oilers

  • March 5: vs. Red Wings

  • March 7: at Sabres

  • March 8: at Penguins

  • March 10: vs. Flyers

  • March 13: at Kings

  • March 15: at Sharks

  • March 17: at Golden Knights

  • March 18: at Ducks

  • March 24: at Canadiens

  • March 26: at Senators

  • March 27: at Maple Leafs

  • March 29: vs. Canadiens

  • March 31: vs. Blackhawks

  • April 2: at Devils

  • April 3: at Sabres

  • April 5: vs. Maple Leafs

  • April 8: vs. Sabres

  • April 9: at Predators

  • April 12: vs. Ducks

  • April 15: vs. Jets

  • April 17: at Red Wings

  • April 19: at Islanders

  • April 21: vs. Red Wings

  • April 23: vs. Maple Leafs

  • April 24: vs. Lightning

  • April 26: at Bruins

  • April 28: at Senators

  • April 29: at Canadiens

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