Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers to open 2014-15 season at Tampa Bay Lightning

The NHL released its full schedule for the 2014-15 season on Sunday with the Panthers once again playing each team in the league at least twice.

The Panthers will open at Tampa Bay on Oct. 9 with the home opener against New Jersey two days later. Florida will end the regular season against the Devils on April 11. The Panthers finish the regular season with a five-game homestand.

Florida will play the bulk of its schedule (30 of the 82 games) within the Atlantic Division. Twenty-four of Florida’s games will be against the East’s Metropolitan Division and the other 28 come against the Western Conference.

The Panthers will play four games each (two home, two away) against Tampa Bay, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston and Detroit. Florida will play Montreal (three home, two away) and Buffalo (two home, three away) five times this season.

Twenty-four of Florida’s games will come on consecutive days with nine of those back-to-back sets coming on the road; three sets will be at home.

Florida’s longest homestand of the season is seven games against the Blackhawks, Sabres, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Stars, Islanders and Jets from Feb. 26 to March 12. The Panthers’ longest road trip kicks off 2015 with six games at the Stars, Capitals, Canucks, Flames, Oilers and Jets from Jan. 2-13.

The Panthers will not play from Jan. 20-26 because of the All-Star break. This season’s All-Star weekend will be held in Columbus, Ohio.

Other highlights:

• The Panthers will be home for the holidays as usual, hosting Minnesota, Carolina and Ottawa around Thanksgiving.

Florida also will host a four-game homestand in late December against Pittsburgh, Toronto, Montreal and the Rangers. Florida will play the Canadiens and Rangers on consecutive nights on Dec. 30-31.

The New Year’s Eve game will be the Rangers’ only visit to Sunrise. Florida plays at New York twice (Feb. 2 and March 15).

The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings make their only visit to Sunrise on Feb. 5. Florida visits Los Angeles on Nov. 18.

• Goalie Roberto Luongo will play in Vancouver for the first time since being traded back to the Panthers on Jan. 8. The Canucks visit Florida on Jan. 19.

• New coach Gerard Gallant returns to Montreal — he spent the past two seasons as a Canadiens assistant — on Feb. 19.

• Florida also will play six preseason games with two (Dallas on Sept. 24, Tampa Bay on Oct. 2) at home.

The Panthers travel to Nashville for a doubleheader on Sept. 27 and also visit Dallas (Sept. 29) and Tampa Bay (Oct. 4).


The Panthers will officially introduce Gallant at a news conference Monday at 11 a.m.

The conference, at which general manager Dale Tallon and CEO Rory Babich are expected to attend, will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Florida.