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NHL releases the 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning regular-season schedule

The fun and games start on October 13th, it all ends on April 9th (again) and holds a glut of back-to-back games for the Bolts.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It's an annual rite of passage for the National Hockey League: offering an intense grouping of league events in June to close out the contract year and truly finalize the season that was. The NHL draft, the NHL awards, free agency; they dominate the headlines before the summer doldrums hit hard in July through August.

Today, we get the 2016-17 regular-season schedules for the 30 member clubs of the NHL, including your Tampa Bay Lightning. By and large, the schedule begins on October 12th, 2016 and concludes on April 9th, 2017.

Monday at noon we found out that the season opens for the 2016 Eastern Conference finalists on Thursday, October 13th at Amalie Arena when the Lightning takes on the Detroit Red Wings.

Today, we get the full deal in store for Tampa Bay.

The season starts with a solid four-game home stand starting on the already mentioned 13th of October, Detroit, the New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche mark that opening homestand... which changes into an elongated 6 game road trip to immediately follow through the beginning of November.

A broader factor or the schedule is a more even distribution in the schedule of Atlantic Division play; 2014-15 saw a majority of divisional games played in the second half of the season, while the mix was more generalized last season.  In 2016-17, it'll be broader; the series with the Red Wings lasts all season (concluding on March 30th). The Florida Panthers, starting in October, concludes on March 11th. The series' against the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens also span like this, the Boston Bruins series begins in early November -€” but spans until April. Hell, even the series with the Buffalo Sabres (which ended waaaaaaaay early last season) will span through the season (November until the season finale on April 9th at Amalie Arena).

Back-to-back games are part of the season like usual, with 16(!) series in the schedule. Most notable is the fact that three consecutive back-to-back game series' will be played in January 2017 with Tampa Bay playing January 7th and 8th (at the Philadelphia Flyers and at the Pittsburgh Penguins), 12th and 13th)(versus the Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets), and 16th and 17th (at the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks). The last of the 32 games to be played in back-to-back series' will be on April 6th and 7th in Eastern Canada against the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

No TV schedule information has been released yet, and trying to deduce national broadcasts isn't exactly clear -€” start times are subject to change, after all.

Day

Date

Time

Opponent

Day

Date

Time

Opponent

Thu.

Oct 13

7:30 pm

Detroit

Sun.

Jan 8

1:00 pm

@ Pittsburgh

Sat.

Oct 15

7:00 pm

New Jersey

Thu.

Jan 12

7:30 pm

Buffalo

Tue.

Oct 18

7:30 pm

Florida

Fri.

Jan 13

7:30 pm

Columbus

Thu.

Oct 20

7:30 pm

Colorado

Mon.

Jan 16

4:00 pm

@ Los Angeles

Sat.

Oct 22

7:00 pm

@ Ottawa

Tue.

Jan 17

10:00 pm

@ Anaheim

Tue.

Oct 25

7:30 pm

@ Toronto

Thu.

Jan 19

10:30 pm

@ San Jose

Thu.

Oct 27

7:30 pm

@ Montreal

Sat.

Jan 21

8:00 pm

@ Arizona

Sat.

Oct 29

7:00 pm

@ New Jersey

Tue.

Jan 24

8:30 pm

@ Chicago

Sun.

Oct 30

7:00 pm

@ N.Y. Rangers

Thu.

Jan 26

7:30 pm

@ Florida

Tue.

Nov 1

7:00 pm

@ N.Y. Islanders

Tue.

Jan 31

7:30 pm

Boston

Thu.

Nov 3

7:30 pm

Boston

Thu.

Feb 2

7:30 pm

Ottawa

Sat.

Nov 5

7:00 pm

New Jersey

Sat.

Feb 4

7:00 pm

Anaheim

Mon.

Nov 7

7:30 pm

@ Florida

Tue.

Feb 7

7:30 pm

Los Angeles

Thu.

Nov 10

7:30 pm

N.Y. Islanders

Fri.

Feb 10

8:00 pm

@ Minnesota

Sat.

Nov 12

7:00 pm

San Jose

Sat.

Feb 11

7:00 pm

@ Winnipeg

Mon.

Nov 14

7:00 pm

@ N.Y. Islanders

Sat.

Feb 18

8:00 pm

@ Dallas

Tue.

Nov 15

7:30 pm

@ Detroit

Sun.

Feb 19

8:00 pm

@ Colorado

Thu.

Nov 17

7:00 pm

@ Buffalo

Tue.

Feb 21

7:30 pm

Edmonton

Sat.

Nov 19

1:00 pm

@ Philadelphia

Thu.

Feb 23

7:30 pm

Calgary

Mon.

Nov 21

8:00 pm

@ Nashville

Mon.

Feb 27

7:30 pm

Ottawa

Wed.

Nov 23

7:30 pm

Philadelphia

Wed.

Mar 1

7:00 pm

Carolina

Fri.

Nov 25

7:30 pm

Columbus

Fri.

Mar 3

7:00 pm

@ Pittsburgh

Sun.

Nov 27

1:00 pm

@ Boston

Sat.

Mar 4

7:00 pm

@ Buffalo

Tue.

Nov 29

7:00 pm

@ Columbus

Mon.

Mar 6

7:30 pm

N.Y. Rangers

Thu.

Dec 1

8:00 pm

@ St. Louis

Thu.

Mar 9

7:30 pm

Minnesota

Sat.

Dec 3

7:00 pm

Washington

Sat.

Mar 11

7:00 pm

Florida

Sun.

Dec 4

5:00 pm

@ Carolina

Mon.

Mar 13

7:00 pm

@ N.Y. Rangers

Thu.

Dec 8

7:30 pm

Vancouver

Tue.

Mar 14

7:30 pm

@ Ottawa

Sat.

Dec 10

7:00 pm

Pittsburgh

Thu.

Mar 16

7:30 pm

Toronto

Wed.

Dec 14

9:30 pm

@ Calgary

Sat.

Mar 18

7:00 pm

Washington

Fri.

Dec 16

10:00 pm

@ Vancouver

Tue.

Mar 21

7:30 pm

Arizona

Sat.

Dec 17

10:00 pm

@ Edmonton

Thu.

Mar 23

7:00 pm

@ Boston

Tue.

Dec 20

7:30 pm

Detroit

Fri.

Mar 24

7:30 pm

@ Detroit

Thu.

Dec 22

7:30 pm

St. Louis

Mon.

Mar 27

7:30 pm

Chicago

Fri.

Dec 23

7:00 pm

@ Washington

Thu.

Mar 30

7:30 pm

Detroit

Wed.

Dec 28

7:30 pm

Montreal

Sat.

Apr 1

7:00 pm

Montreal

Thu.

Dec 29

7:30 pm

Toronto

Sun.

Apr 2

6:00 pm

Dallas

Sat.

Dec 31

7:00 pm

Carolina

Tue.

Apr 4

7:00 pm

@ Boston

Tue.

Jan 3

7:30 pm

Winnipeg

Thu.

Apr 6

7:30 pm

@ Toronto

Thu.

Jan 5

7:30 pm

Nashville

Fri.

Apr 7

7:30 pm

@ Montreal

Sat.

Jan 7

1:00 pm

@ Philadelphia

Sun.

Apr 9

5:00 pm

Buffalo