2020-21 NHL schedule unveiled

The Tampa Bay Lightning will hoist the second Stanley Cup champion banner in history before facing the Chicago Blackhawks in one of five games scheduled for Jan. 13 to kick off the 2020-21 season of the NHL.

The rest of the games in this 2020-21 season premiere will feature the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will face the Philadelphia Flyers; the Montreal Canadiens, who will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs; the Vancouver Canucks, who will cross swords with the Edmonton Oilers; and the St. Louis Blues, who meet with the Colorado Avalanche.


These are the first five games of an 868-game season, where each team will play 56 games before seeing the schedule conclude on May 8, when 30 of the 31 NHL teams will be in action.

The NHL announced on Sunday that it has reached an agreement with the NHL Players’ Association on the format of the season, in which the sections will be reorganized and that the games will be intrasection only. Training camps will begin on January 3. There will be no preparatory matches. The seven teams that did not make the last playoffs will be allowed to start their camp on December 31.

Each of the teams in the East, Central, West sections will face their opponents in the section eight times, while the teams in the North section, made up of the seven Canadian teams, will face their opponents nine or 10 times.

The top four teams from each section will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and compete within their section for the first two rounds (first place vs. fourth place, second place vs. third place) . The four teams that reach the semi-final round will be ranked based on their regular season point total (No 1 vs. No 4; No 2 vs. No 3).

The League hopes that all games can be played at the home team’s arena, but is prepared to play games at one or more neutral venues per section should that become necessary.

The Lightning and the Dallas Stars, who met in the Stanley Cup Final last year, will meet for the first of eight games on Jan. 17 at Amalie Arena. This will be the first time that two teams that have reached the Final will meet in the same section since the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders played in the Patrick section in 1980-81.

In the northern section, the first clash between Connor mcdavid and the Edmonton Oilers vs. Auston matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs take place on January 20 at the Scotiabank Arena.

Brothers Tkachuk, Brady of the Ottawa Senators and Matthew of the Calgary Flames will cross swords on nine occasions, including February 25 at the Canadian Tire Center for the first time.

This will be the first season since 1923-24 where Canadian teams will compete only, since at the time all NHL clubs were located north of the border. The Boston Bruins made their NHL debut in 1924-25, becoming the first American team on the tour.

It will also be the first time since 1973-74 that all of the teams established in New York State – the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabers – will all be in the same section.

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