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Lightning Round: NHL announce regular season schedule for 2021-22

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Let the threepeat begin!

2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
TAMPA, FL - JULY 7: Mathieu Joseph #7, Alex Barre-Boulet #60, David Savard #58, Daniel Walcott #85, and Yanni Gourde #37 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five to win the best of seven game series 4-1 during the Stanley Cup Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on July 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Today is the first day of the 2021 NHL Draft. Picks 1-32 will be made tonight starting at 8pm ET, with Rounds 2-7 happening on Saturday starting at 11am and going for who knows how long. Yesterday, the NHL announced their 82-game regular season schedules for 2021-22, including for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Here is the full schedule in PDF form

While we don’t have start times or broadcast information, we do have some breakdowns of the schedule.

Here are the number of games against each division. Reminder that the Arizona Coyotes have moved from the Pacific to the Central this season, meaning there are eight teams in each Division now.

  • Games vs Atlantic Division: 26
  • Games vs Metro Division: 24
  • Games vs Central Division: 16
  • Games vs Pacific Division: 16

Here is the game breakdown by month. The NHL have included an Olympic Break in February. The Lightning get 21 days off during this period. If the league and IOC can’t get a deal together with regards to sending NHL players, the NHL has a backup schedule that will overlap the Olympics.

  • October: 8 games (4/4)
  • November: 14 games (8/6)
  • December: 13 games (5/8)
  • January: 13 games (6/7)
  • February: 3 games (2/1)
  • March: 15 games (5/10)
  • April: 16 games (11/5)

In terms of the travel, the Lightning are in a relatively good spot compared to the league.

  • The Lightning will play 12 back-to-backs, and they’ll get more than two days of rest five times this season.
  • There are eight times when the Lightning will play a rest team while tired, and on the flipside, there are seven times when the Lightning are rested and are playing a tired team. Overall, this nets them about average in the league.

The Lightning actually have a pretty interesting schedule when you break it down by days of the week. As you can see below, the Lightning play a lot on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Those three days alone cover 70% of their season. Also, the vast majority of Sunday games are at home, only one is on the road.

  • Games on Monday: 5
  • Games on Tuesday: 21
  • Games on Wednesday: 3
  • Games on Thursday: 18
  • Games on Friday: 7
  • Games on Saturday: 19
  • Games on Sunday: 9

I’d also like to mention that the Bolts only play the Habs or the Leafs once on Saturday night, meaning only one national TV game in Canada confirmed. I assume they’ll get some weekday night games instead. Hopefully ESPN shows some love for the double reigning Stanley Cup Champions. If not, we’ll have to wait for four rounds of playoffs that have to be on national TV.


Lightning Links

The AHL is announcing their regular season schedule today at 1pm ET.

The Lightning re-signed Gemel Smith to a two-year, two-way contract. Smith is a great AHLer and can definitely play a fourth line role if necessary.

Tampa Bay Lightning signee Simon Ryfors has shades of Yanni Gourde, per this hockey blog in Sweden. The author interviewed Ryfors about his strengths and weaknesses and how fits the mold of the Lightning’s relentless third liners. [Rakapuckar]

“That’s how it is. This thing about competing, this is where I founded my game, that’s how I took a place in Rögle once, compete, always do the right things. Then I built on it, in the end I found the goal scorer, the offensive tip. But the foundation is a damn two-way job. I place great value on it, to always do the right thing for me. I’m not a nonchalant goal scorer… haha.”

The Carolina Hurricanes traded their starting goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings for pending UFA Jonathan Bernier and a third round pick. Dear Carolina, what in the world are you doing. Dear Steve Yzerman, you sly dog.