NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The NHL officially released its 2021 schedule Wednesday afternoon, which includes the Predators’ season opener on Jan. 14.
This season will be different than what fans are used to -- for starters, the season will be starting about three months later than normal.
The NHL released a 56-game schedule for all teams -- featuring division only games. Because of the pandemic, and travel restrictions in Canada, the league had to reshuffle divisions for this season.
All seven Canadian teams are in the newly formed North division. While the American teams are divided into three divisions of eight. The Predators remain in the Central with the Blackhawks and Stars, but are now joined for this season by former rival Detroit, Columbus, Carolina, Florida and defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.
The Predators will drop the puck on the season on January 14 against Columbus at Bridgestone Arena and then play the Blue Jackets again two days later.
All games this year will be played in pairs like that at one site to reduce travel. Other notable dates include hosting the Blackhawks on January 26 and 27, the Lightning on February 8 and 9 and then closing the regular season on May 7 and 8 at home against Carolina.
There’s no word yet if there will be fans -- or just how many there may be -- at Bridgestone Arena this year. The Preds hope to have an announcement on that after the first of the year.