The NHL regular season is back to its full 82-game glory and starting off the season with two exciting match-ups tonight. In the first of the two match-ups, the back-to-back reigning Stanley Cup Champions the Tampa Bay Lightning will host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Later in the night, the Seattle Kraken will travel to Las Vegas to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Kraken’s inaugural game.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
On opening night, the two-time reigning Stanley Cup Champions the Tampa Bay Lightning will begin their quest to be the first team to earn a three-peat since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83. The Lightning will host the Pittsburgh Penguins, the last team to achieve two consecutive Stanley Cups prior to the Lightning.
Last season, the Lighting and Penguins did not face each other due to an unusual season and division/schedule format.
As this match-up is the opening game of the NHL regular season, this game will be one of 13 Lightning games to be broadcasted nationally on ESPN/TNT networks. This season-opener will be the first national televised NHL game on ESPN since 2004. Puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. at Amalie Arena.
Despite ongoing cap disputes, the Lightning finalized their roster for opening night keeping their top six forwards as well as their defensive core. Incoming veterans Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Corey Perry are expected to fill the gaps from the departure of their entire third line as well as bring more experience to the young roster.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Tampa Bay Lightning! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/GZ6FqowhCL
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 11, 2021
The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Penguins stand-out player Sidney Crosby enters his 17th NHL season needing 14 goals to reach 500 in his career. He is also seeking to end the Penguins’ playoff victory drought since 2018.
It's a great day for hockey! pic.twitter.com/BmC7Zq3ESv
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 12, 2021
Seattle Krakens Debut in Vegas
The league’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, will visit the Vegas Golden Knights to make their NHL regular-season debut. The Kraken will make history no matter the outcome of their match against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. The puck is set to drop at 10 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN following the Penguins-Lightning match-up.
The Kraken are expected to be shorthanded to start off their season debut with center Yanni Gourde out with a shoulder injury, along with five other players in COVID-19 protocol.
The Vegas Golden Knights fell to the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, in Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals.
It was not long ago that the Golden Knights were in the same spot as the Kraken, as the Golden Knights made their debut in 2017-2018 season. The Golden Knights have had a successful start as a young franchise and the Seattle Kraken hope to do the same.