The Tampa Bay Lightning will play starting January 13, 2021, to defend their Stanley Cup Championship.
If you remember the first time the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, in 2004, there was no 2004-2005 season due to a league lockout. This time, the Tampa Bay Lightning will get the opportunity to defend their championship, but it will be a shortened season.
The teams will only play other teams in their divisions. Adding to that, there will be new divisions for this season, including an all Canadian team division. The Tampa Bay Lightning fall into the Central Divison for the season and will be in the same division as the Dallas Star, who they beat in September to take home Lord Stanley.
There will be no preseason. Training camps will begin on January 3, and the first regular season game will be played January 13. The schedule will consist of 56 games per team. (The few teams that did not participate in the playoffs last season will get to start camp early as December 31.) The regular season schedule will be announced soon.
The home arenas will be where teams will play their games, though some may not allow fans to return yet. The NHL is prepared to look at neutral sites if necessary. The league is also working around national and local governments to follow Covid-19 requirements in each location.
So we will have to see if we will get to see our Lightning in person this season. The good news? The Toronto Raptors are already welcoming fans to Amalie Arena for the first quarter of their NBA season. Hopefully, the arena can make it work for hockey, too!
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