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Lightning open 2013-14 schedule at Boston, Chicago

TAMPA - Wonder how the Tampa Bay Lightning might fare against either of last season's Stanley Cup finalists?
The 2013-14 schedule, released by the NHL on Friday, provides early answers.
The Lightning open the 2013-14 season at defending Eastern Conference champion Boston on Oct. 3 and play two nights later at the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago.
How's that for starters?
After a three-game trip concludes in Buffalo, the Lightning open at home against Florida on Oct. 10 at the Forum. The home opener kicks off a seven-game home stand that spans more than two weeks and includes visits by Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Boston and Chicago as the newly aligned NHL guarantees all teams play each other at least twice - home and away.
That means all 29 other NHL teams will play in Tampa at least once.
Lightning icon Vinny Lecavalier is slated to return to the Forum with his new team, the Philadelphia Flyers, on Nov. 27 and April 10. Tampa Bay bought out the remainder of Lecavalier's contract in June to free up nearly $54 million in salary cap space over the next seven seasons.
The realigned NHL finds 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 in the Western Conference. Each conference is divided into two divisions.
Tampa Bay remains in the East. Its Atlantic Division features "Original Six" franchises Boston, Detroit, Montreal and Toronto, plus Buffalo, Florida and Ottawa.
Other scheduling notes:
  • Tampa Bay plays each division opponent four times, twice at home and twice on the road, with the exception of Ottawa (three home, two away) and Detroit (two home, three away). Detroit, which is new to the Eastern Conference, visits Tampa on Dec. 12 and Feb. 8.
  • The Lighting will play each of its non-division East opponents three times.
  •  The NHL will break for more than two weeks in February to allow players to represent their countries in the Winter Olympics in Russia.
  •  Tampa Bay plays 14 of its final 20 games at home.
  •  The Lightning do not have a road trip longer than four games.
Here is Tampa Bay's 2013-14 schedule:
Thur., Oct. 3 at Boston, 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 5 at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 8 at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Thur., Oct. 10 vs. Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 12 vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 15 vs. Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Thur., Oct. 17 vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 19 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Thur., Oct. 24 vs. Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 26 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 27 at Florida, 5 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 29 at New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 1 at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 2 vs. St. Louis, 7 p.m.
Thur., Nov. 7 vs. Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 9 at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 11 at Boston, 1 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 12 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Thur., Nov. 14 vs. Anaheim, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 16 at Phoenix, 8 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 19 at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Thur., Nov. 21 at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 22 at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 25 vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 27 vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 29 vs. Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 3 at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Thur., Dec. 5 vs. Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 7 vs. Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 10 at Washington, 7 p.m.
Thur., Dec. 12 vs. Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 14 at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 15 at Detroit, 5 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 17 at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.
Thur., Dec. 19 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 21 vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 23 at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 28 vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 29 vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 1 at Vancouver, 10 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 3 at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 5 at Edmonton, 8 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 7 at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 9 vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 11 at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 13 at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 14 at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 16 vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 18 vs. San Jose, 2 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 19 at Carolina, 5 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 23 vs. Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 25 vs. Colorado, 7 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 28 at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 30 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 1 at Montreal, 1 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 4 at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Thur., Feb. 6 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 8 vs. Detroit, 7 p.m.
Thur., Feb. 27 at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Sat., March 1 at Dallas, 3 p.m.
Sun., March 2 at Colorado, 8 p.m.
Tue., March 4 at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Thur., March 6 vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 8 vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Mon., March 10 vs. Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.
Thur., March 13 vs. Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 15 vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Mon., March 17 vs. Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
Wed., March 19 at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Thur., March 20 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 22 at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Mon., March 24 vs. Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Thur., March 27 vs. N.Y. Islanders, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 29 at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sun., March 30 at Detroit, 5 p.m.

Tue., April 1 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Thur., April 3 vs. Calgary, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., April 5 vs. Dallas, 7 p.m.
Tue., April 8 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Thur., April 10 vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., April 11 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., April 13 at Washington, 3 p.m.
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