Tampa Bay Lightning announce 2017-18 Regular Season Schedule

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced the regular season schedule for their 25th Anniversary Season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are about to embark on a new and exciting journey. The 2017-18 season will kick into gear in just a few short months. It will be then the Bolts will embark on their 25th Anniversary Season.

Bolts fans can now officially begin to get excited about the upcoming season. Just yesterday, the NHL announced the official schedule for the 2017-18 Regular Season. This means the Lightning and their fans finally know when they will take on some of their favorite opponents and revisit some familiar faces.

Everything will kick into high gear on October 6, 2017, when the Tampa Bay Lightning will open the doors to the Amalie Arena to host the Florida Panthers in the Lightning’s Home Opener. If there was ever a team to kick off the season with, it’s definitely the Panthers. Games against the Panthers are always intense, and it seems like a fitting way to kick off the Bolts’ anniversary season.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

Unfortunately, with every bit of good news a team receives, a little rain must fall. Once again, the Lightning has a pretty stacked season. Much like the 2016-17 season, the Lightning will play 13 back-to-back games in the coming season. The first of these back-to-back series comes right at the onset of the season.

The Lightning takes on the Florida Panthers at the Amalie Arena on October 6, then turn around the very next night to take on the Panthers at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Then, on Monday, October 16, 2017, the Tampa Bay Lightning will take on the Detroit Red Wings in Motown. The following night, the Bolts will head to Jersey to take on captain Andy Greene and the New Jersey Devils.

Things get much more interesting as the Tampa Bay Lightning move into the month of November. The Lightning plays one of their 13 back-to-back series on November 24 and 25 as they take on the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins respectively. Then, after just two days off, the Bolts will be back at it again as they take on the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins on November 28 and 29 respectively.

On the bright side, this is not the Lightning’s first time at this particular rodeo. The NHL seems to love loading on back-to-back series for the Lightning, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. As the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This is definitely going to be a good strengthening exercise for the Bolts.

As far as home games are concerned, the Lightning is a bit back-loaded. In the month of January, the Lightning has a mere three home games on the schedule. At the same time, the month of March will see the Bolts charge into the Amalie Arena a total of nine times (the most of the season.)

One good thing for many fans here in the Bolts Nation is the shift in game days at home. This season, the Tampa Bay Lightning plays more home games on Saturday than any other day of the week. This should definitely ease some of the downtown traffic for fans as they try to make their way to the Arena.

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The Lightning will definitely have to kick things off with a bang this season. Under normal circumstances, the opening month of the season is not the time to start thinking about the postseason; however, things are a little different for the Bolts this season.

Under the new schedule, the Bolts will play 13 of their first 15 games against Eastern Conference teams.  We don’t know about you, but from where we’re sitting, it’s never too early to start racking up points against your own Division and Conference. You never want to wait until February or March to kick things into gear, and this opens up an interesting opportunity for the Bolts early on.

There is definitely a lot for Tampa Bay Lightning fans to be excited for in the coming season. In addition to the roster changes made recently and those yet to come, the Lightning has an exciting 25th Anniversary Season scheduled. Rivalries will be renewed and fans will have an opportunity to revisit some familiar faces.

The only question now is, what do we do with ourselves between now and the first official puck drop of the season? Judging by the number of contracts in need of signing in the coming weeks, the Free Agency Period should do well to keep us on the edge of our seats until then.

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In any case, we here at Bolts By The Bay can’t wait for the first puck drop of the season! Which team are you most excited to see the Tampa Bay Lightning play this season? Let us know who and why in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned for the latest and greatest in Tampa Bay Lightning news and opinion.