TAMPA — The Lightning start and end the 2014-15 season with three consecutive home games while former captain Marty St. Louis returns on Thanksgiving week.
The Lightning open the regular season at home against Florida on Oct. 9, followed by games against Ottawa and New Jersey before departing for a five-game road trip through Western Canada and Minnesota.
St. Louis, who spent 13 seasons with the Lightning before demanding a trade to the Rangers in March, makes his only trip to Tampa on Nov. 26.
The Lightning have a conflict with one of the scheduled home dates. Tampa Bay has a game scheduled against Montreal on April 7, which is also the date of the NCAA Women’s Basketball championship game that will take place at The Forum. The NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held April 5-7.
The Lightning acknowledged the scheduling error.
“We are aware of the scheduling conflict for the April 7 date and we are working with all involved parties on a proper resolution,’’ Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett said.
A league spokesman did not return an email on the subject sent late Sunday night.
Montreal plays in Florida on April 5 before the scheduled game in Tampa on April 7 and is not scheduled to play again until April 9 at home against Detroit in the Canadiens’ home finale. The Lightning are also scheduled to play at home on April 9 against New Jersey, which could potentially allow the game to be rescheduled for April 8.
Top Five Must-See Home Games
1. Nov. 26 vs. New York Rangers - Though Marty St. Louis helped provide some of the greatest moments in Lightning franchise history, many fans felt betrayed when he asked for a trade in the middle of last season. So whether you want to cheer the return of a former team hero or jeer the comeback of the former team captain, the only chance to do so in Tampa comes in the Rangers only visit to Tampa during the season.
2. Oct. 9 vs. Florida - The home opener always brings a certain buzz to the building - even if it’s against the Panthers - and this year it will also be the season opener for both teams. Tampa Bay has had its way with Florida in recent seasons, including a four-game sweep of the season series last season, which included a 7-2 drubbing in the home opener, a game that featured a Steven Stamkos hat trick.
3. Feb. 7 vs. Los Angeles - The defending champion Kings may be the closest thing to a mondern day NHL dynasty with two Stanley Cup titles in the past three seasons and three consecutive trips to the Western Conference Final. Los Angeles will once again be considered a favorite to win it all again sporting a stong nucleus, including goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty and center Anze Kopitar leading the way.
4. Jan. 17 vs. Colorado - The Avalanche are one of the most exciting young teams in the league and plays an up-tempo style of play. This will also be the first meeting between former junior teammates Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall pick in 2013, and Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick, since the pair helped lead Halifax to a Memorial Cup Championship.
5. Feb. 27 vs Chicago - The Blackhawks continue to be a top-tier team in the league, and with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, this year will be no exception. This will be Chicago’s only trip to Tampa.