The NHL announced the 2021-22 regular season schedule today. It’s a return to normalcy with the familiar 82 game schedule, and the divisions are back to what they once were. Unlike 2020-21, teams won’t just play the same seven division opponents over and over.
Here’s what it looks like for the Penguins (click to make bigger). The season opens on Tuesday October 12th at Tampa Bay. That will be the home opener for the Lightning, which means the Pens will have a birds eye view for banner night. It ends on April 29th with a home game against Carolina.
Here’s a note from the team on the 2021-22 season format:
The NHL’s schedule will return to the more traditional format that fans had become accustomed to prior to the 2020-21 season, as the Penguins will face each Metropolitan Division opponent four times (two home/two road), each Western Conference opponent twice (one home/one road), and each Atlantic Division opponent three times. The lone exception in the Metropolitan Division is that Pittsburgh only travels to Carolina once, and only hosts the New York Islanders once. Half of the Atlantic Division foes visit Pittsburgh twice and half host the Penguins twice. The teams that Pittsburgh hosts twice are Buffalo, Detroit, Florida and Montreal.
Some key dates:
- December 6th will be the Pens’ first trip to Seattle to play the newest NHL team. Brandon Tanev and the Kraken make their lone visit to Pittsburgh on January 27th
- Mark your calendar if you can for January 17th in Las Vegas...It’s a great trip, plenty of Pittsburgh fans..
- Connor McDavid and the Oilers come to town on April 26th, marking what would be McDavid’s first game in Pittsburgh since November 2019
- Marc-Andre Fleury and Vegas make their trip to Pittsburgh on March 11th.
- The NHL All-Star weekend is February 4-5th
- The Olympic break is February 7-22nd
From the team:
- The Penguins will play eight Saturday, and six Sunday home games, which accounts for 34% of all home games.
- Pittsburgh’s schedule has 12 sets of back-to-back games scheduled. The Penguins went 13-4-1 in back-to-back games last season.
- The team’s busiest months are January (8 home/7 road) and March (6 home/9 road), with 15 games apiece.
The pre-season schedule has been released as well earlier in the week:
Now this, this really feels good. This is a classic Pens preseason, with home and road splits against Columbus, Detroit and Buffalo. These are typical preseason opponents from the past like 10-15 years, including the always energetic “kids game”, this year against the Red Wings where the stands will be filled with free tickets for local hockey playing and loving kids from all around the region that will be fired up to see some hockey.
One other item to keep in mind for the NHL regular season is the above schedule includes a stoppage for the NHL players to attend the 2022 Olympics. However, all the necessary agreements for the IOC, IIHF, NHL, NHLPA and all that good stuff are not yet completed, so there is an unreleased backup schedule that has been distributed in case this doesn’t happen. The NHL needs a resolution very soon, so hopefully the deadline will make sure the players (and fans) get what they want and get to see the world’s best on the Olympic stage next winter.
Of note with the 2021-22 NHL schedule being released today: It includes an Olympic break, even without a deal completed to send players to Beijing in February.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 22, 2021
Gary Bettman hoped for a resolution by July 23 -- tomorrow -- but the NHL has not imposed a drop dead date in talks.
What games are you most looking forward to? Planning on any road trips or catching any in person?