Tampa Bay Lightning announce 2017 home opening game

A familiar rival stalks into town to open the 2017-18 season

Quietly, amidst all of the talk of Vegas rosters and NHL awards, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced their opponent and date for the opening game of the 2017-18 season.

The Lightning (with Steven Stamkos back in the line-up) will debut their new Adidas jerseys against the Florida Panthers on Friday October 6th, 2017.

After somewhat disappointing seasons, both teams will be looking to start the season off on a positive note against their in-state rivals.  Not only will they be wearing new jerseys, both teams could ice rosters that are significantly different than the ones that matched up four times last year.

The Lightning have already traded away Jonathan Drouin and are rumored to be making more changes on the blue line.  The Panthers, under new coach Bob Boughner, could be sporting a different look as well (although ageless star Jaromir Jagr is expected back).

The rest of the schedule will be released on Thursday.