Yes, the 2010-2011 just ended last week, but for the other 29 teams who didn’t win the Stanley Cup, it’s time to look forward to what next season will bring! The NHL’s 30 teams released their 2011-2012 schedules today and fans now know exactly what stands between them and the playoffs. The Florida Panthers know they’ll begin their campaign on Long Island against the New York Islanders on October 8, and close it out April 7 at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. After taking a look at it, here are some things that stand out to me on the Cats schedule:
- For the second consecutive season, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be the opponent for the home opener. Let’s hope for the same result as last year! (6-0 Cats if you didn’t remember)
- Those anxious to see the Panthers in their red sweaters will have to be patient. Of the eleven games on the schedule in the month of October, only four of those are at the Bank Atlantic Center. In that month, they’ll face the Buffalo Sabres, Islanders and Lightning twice, playing each at home and on the road.
- The Winnipeg franchise makes its first of three visits to Sunrise Halloween Night. The Panthers make their first trek up there November 10, two days a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- The first BIG opponent to visit the BAC is the Chicago Blackhawks, who visit November 3. The return trip to Chicago is January 20.
- Thanksgiving week will once again be a busy one in Sunrise, as the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Tampa come in for Feast Week.
- ‘Tis the season! December is a busy month for the Panthers. They play 15 games, eight of them at home. Included are two trips to Boston to face the Cup champs and a trip to California to face the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. 2011 closes at home with the Leafs, Rangers and the now annual New Year’s Eve game against the Montreal Canadiens.
- No extended road trips or home stands. The Panthers have two, four games road trips and two, four game home stands.
- If you wanted to cheer Nicklas Lidstrom one last time, you’re out of luck unless you want to travel. The Detroit Red Wings won’t be making a trip Sunrise. Wings/Cats goes down 4/1 in Motown.
You can find the full schedule here, but I’m guessing many of you have already! Biggest question: Will the 4/7 finale against Carolina be it for the season or will there FINALLY be a return of post season hockey to South Florida?
Thanks for reading! Any and all comments are appreciated!
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