The NHL lockout isn’t completely over, meaning schedules haven’t yet been released. That isn’t stopping people from pondering potential Opening Night match-ups though. Set to take place Jan 19, many of these are either rivalries or games sure to produce big story lines.
For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s being rumored that they will face the team which holds the 21st centuries only other 60 goal scorer. If correct, which I assume it is considering the source (Tampa Bay Times), the Lightning would open their 20th anniversary season at home against the Washington Capitals.
These teams met in the 2011 conference semifinals, a series swept by the Lightning, but the Caps have seemingly had our number during the regular season. It ought to be noted though that last season the teams split their series with one another, with three of the six match-ups decided in extra time.
Another storyline to watch if the teams do in fact open against one another has to do with the two NHL stars. For the Caps, you have Alexander Ovechkin who scored 65 goals back in 2007-08. Across from him will be the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos who reached the coveted 60 goal plateau on the final day of last season and scored all three game winners last year.
We don’t know when the new schedule will be released. It’s likely to be this weekend though, as the owners ratified the new CBA yesterday and players are expected to vote on it tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. If all goes well, camps should open Sunday.
I’d expect to see a schedule either late Saturday or early Sunday, just in time for training camp. If the rumors are correct, with the Lightning indeed hosting the Capitals to start things off, we could be in for yet another tight game likely decided by the two superstars.