The release of the NHL regular season schedule provides a jolt of excitement during the otherwise hockey starved summer months. The release of the schedule allows fans to put a face and a setting to their hockey imaginings. The unveiling also presents the hockey blogosphere with the opportunity to break down the schedules to completely unnecessary levels of minutia a breakdown which I will be undertaking below with the Florida Panthers’ schedule.
The Panthers will begin their season on a four game road trip starting October 3rd at Dallas. The Panthers will then travel to St. Louis, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay before playing their home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 11th.
The Panthers will have four home stands of five or more games. The longest of which will be a six game stand from October 17-November 1st. The Panthers longest road trip will consist of five games from November 15-November 22nd. This trip, which includes two back to back sets will see the Panthers travel to Minnesota, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
The Panthers will have 14 back to backs this season. Nine will come with both games on the road, four will be split between home and the road, and one will be a home and home set.
The Florida Panthers will have two games televised nationally in the US (the fewest of non-Canadian teams). On Saturday December 28th, they will face the Detroit Red Wings on NHL Network. Their Monday, March 31st matchup at New Jersey will be aired on NBC Sports Network.
New Conference Breakdown:
With the NHL changing its divisional landscape this season, there are some minor tweaks to the scheduling matrix. The Panthers find themselves in the Atlantic Division alongside Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal, and Boston. Here is how the scheduling shakes out:
- 30 intra-conference games will be played.
- The Panthers play the Boston Bruins five times, twice at home and three times on the road. They also play the Detroit Red Wings five times, three times at home and twice on the road.
- The Panthers will face the remaining five teams, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Buffalo, Toronto and Montreal four times a piece with two games coming at home and two coming on the road.
- The Panthers will play 24 games against the remaining eight Eastern Conference teams i.e. the Metropolitan Division. They will play each team in the Metro Division three times.
- Against Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey and the Islanders, the Panthers will play two road games and one home game. The Panthers will play Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington and the Rangers twice at home and once one the road.
- Against the 14 team Western Conference the Panthers will play each team twice, once at home and once on the road for a grand total of 28 games.
The Panthers busiest month will be March in which the team will play 17 games. They should however be well rested following the long break scheduled into February for the Sochi Olympics. The Panthers last game before the break will be on February 7th and after that the team will be off until they resume play the 27th.
October: 12 games, 1 game every 2.58 nights, 1 Road/Home B-B (back to back)
November: 15 games, 1 game every 2 nights, 4 B-B (3R/R, 1H/R)
December: 14 games, 1 game every 2.21 nights, 3 B-B (2R/R, 1H/H)
January: 13 games, 1 game every 2.38 nights, 1 B-B (R/R)
February: 5 games, 1 game every 5.6 nights, 1 B-B (H/R)
March: 17 games, 1 game every 1.82 nights, 3 B-B (2R/R, 1R/H)
April: 6 games, 1 game every 2 nights, 1 B-B (R/R)
Other Schedule Bits:
- Mon-Fri home games will begin at 7:30 pm ET, Saturday home games will start at 7:00 while Sunday home games will begin between 3 and 5 pm.
- The Panthers will travel 45,136 miles this season (stick tap to On The Forecheck). The Panthers rank 11th in the league for most miles traveled but first in the Eastern Conference. With most of their division located in the Northeast/Canada, this comes as no surprise. The same reasoning explains why Tampa Bay is the Eastern Conference team with the second most rigorous travel schedule.
- Florida’s opponents had a .508 winning percentage last season. They averaged 2.68 goals per game and allowed an average of 2.61 goals per game. For some perspective, last season the Panthers averaged 2.27 goals a game while they allowed 3.54.