Game #1: Saturday, October 5th, Tampa Bay Lightning
There are going to be a lot of good games, but game one at home may be one of the better ones.
The Panthers and Lightning usually play each other tough, especially in Sunrise. No matter what the two team’s records tend to be, most games end closer than what they should.
Even if you aren’t a fan of either team and might just be trying to get into hockey, this is a game that a lot of neutrals will have their eyes on in the opening week.
For the Lightning, they may have an extra chip on their shoulder if Sergei Bobrovsky starts in net. Bobrovsky was a huge part of why Tampa Bay was swept in the first round of the playoffs last season, keeping the Bolts’ stars in Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point (who are all very fun players to watch) off the scoreboard.
There will be a lot of very fun head-to-head matchups when these two square off, especially between the pipes. Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy, two of the best in the game, will have their work cut out for them throughout the three periods.
Most importantly, this is a major test for the Panthers. If they want to be seen as the best, they have to beat the best, and not many teams are better than the Lightning.