Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers release 2017-18 schedule, open with rival Lightning

The Florida Panthers celebrate Sasha Barkov’s game-winning goal in overtime against the New Jersey Devils on Opening Night on October 13, 2016.
The Florida Panthers celebrate Sasha Barkov’s game-winning goal in overtime against the New Jersey Devils on Opening Night on October 13, 2016. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The Florida Panthers will open their 2017-18 NHL season with a set of games against cross-start and Atlantic Division rival Tampa Bay on the weekend of Oct. 6-7.

On Thursday, the league released the rest f the team’s schedule.

The Panthers will play 82 regular season games — not including six preseason contests — with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins visiting BB&T Center on Oct. 20 and Feb. 24.

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The 2017-18 Florida Panthers schedule. George Richards @GeorgeRichards

Florida will visit former coach Gerard Gallant and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 17. Gallant and Vegas comes to Sunrise on Jan. 19.

The longest homestand this season is six games from Feb. 22-March 4 (Washington, Pittsburgh, Toronto, New Jersey, Buffalo and Philadelphia).

The Panthers have three five-game road trips.

As usual, Florida is home for the holidays.

The Panthers will play Toronto and Chicago during Thanksgiving week. During Christmas, Florida plays host to Minnesota, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Montreal on Dec. 30.

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