2021-22 NHL schedule: Kraken debut, return to 82 games, and more

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One day after the Seattle Kraken made their expansion draft picks, we now know when they’ll play their first game, and also the date of their home-opener. The NHL released 82-game schedules for all 32 teams for the 2021-22 season on Thursday.

The 2021-22 NHL season schedule kicks off with a doubleheader (Lightning – Penguins and Kraken – Golden Knights) on Oct. 12. The regular season concludes on April 29, with a whopping 30 out of 32 NHL teams participating.

It’s not yet clear if the NHL will participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, so that could prompt some changes to the 2021-22 schedule.

If you want 2021-22 season schedules for specific teams, they are linked at the bottom of this post.

Here are some quick notes about 2021-22 NHL season schedules.

Kraken debut during 2021-22 season; Lightning raise banner, Islanders open new arena

The Kraken will play their first-ever NHL regular-season game on the road against the Golden Knights on Oct. 12. Eventually, the Kraken will host their first home game against the Canucks on Oct. 23.

On that same Oct. 12 opening night, the Lightning will raise their Stanley Cup banner before facing the Penguins.

Return to 82 games for 2021-22 NHL schedule; Division/Conference format returns

The division alignments from 2020-21, including the popular All-Canadian North Division, will be a one-year thing. Instead, the NHL returns to the previous format:

Eastern Conference: Atlantic, Metropolitan Divisions

Western Conference: Central, Pacific Divisions

The Coyotes move to the Central Division to make room for the Kraken in the Pacific. Three teams from each division secure a spot in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, while remaining teams battle for two wild-card spots per conference.

Here’s a reminder of the “scheduling matrix,” via the NHL:

Reminder: Scheduling Matrix
Each Division Has Eight Teams

Games Within Division
5 teams x 2 home / 2 away (Subtotal 10 home / 10 away)
1 team x 2 home / 1 away (Subtotal 2 home / 1 away)
1 team x 1 home / 2 away (Subtotal 1 home / 2 away)

Games Within Conference (Non-Division)
4 teams x 2 home / 1 away (Subtotal 8 home / 4 away)
4 teams x 1 home / 2 away (Subtotal 4 home / 8 away)

Non-Conference Games
16 teams x 1 home / 1 away (Subtotal 16 home / 16 away)

Grand Total – 82 Games
41 home / 41 away

Uncertainty over Olympic participation (would happen around All-Star break)

At the moment, it’s unclear if NHL players will participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Such a break is currently factored into 2021-22 NHL season schedules, though.

If the NHL participates in the 2022 Olympics, the 2022 NHL All-Star Game would serve as a send-off. Here’s how it may play out if the NHL can agree to Olympic participation:

  • Feb. 4-5: 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend.
  • Feb. 7-22: Possible pause for NHL involvement in 2022 Winter Olympics.
  • Feb. 24: If NHL is involved in the Olympics, the 2021-22 regular season would resume on Feb. 24.

Here’s how the league worded things if the NHL does not participate in the 2022 Olympics:

If, for whatever reason, there is no NHL Player participation in the Olympics, a revised Regular Season schedule will be released which, to the greatest extent possible, will adopt the dates and games reflected in the schedule contemplating Olympic participation.

2022 Winter Classic, plus Stadium Series

Postponed from 2020, the Winter Classic will be at Target Field in Minnesota and feature the Wild vs. the Blues on Jan. 1, 2022.

• The Stadium Series will return and be hosted at Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Feb. 26, 2022 with the Predators taking on the defending champion Lightning.

Schedules for all 32 NHL teams during 2021-22 season

Anaheim Ducks

Arizona Coyotes

Boston Bruins

Buffalo Sabres

Calgary Flames

Carolina Hurricanes

Chicago Blackhawks

Colorado Avalanche

Columbus Blue Jackets

Dallas Stars

Detroit Red Wings

Edmonton Oilers

Florida Panthers

Los Angeles Kings

Minnesota Wild

Montreal Canadiens

Nashville Predators

New Jersey Devils

New York Islanders

New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators

Philadelphia Flyers

Pittsburgh Penguins

San Jose Sharks

Seattle Kraken

St. Louis Blues

Tampa Bay Lightning

Toronto Maple Leafs

Vancouver Canucks

Vegas Golden Knights

Washington Capitals

Winnipeg Jets

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.