When does the NHL season start for 2021? Schedule of opening games for all 31 teams

After months of uncertainty, the NHL season is upon us. Beginning Jan. 13, the NHL’s 31 teams will kickstart their 56-game sprint for the 2021 season. 

This year’s schedule brings plenty of intrigue and interesting quirks to the lineup, most notably because of the new divisions and the 8-10 interdivisional-game series that will encompass the season.

Despite 2021 marking the first time Original Six franchises the Bruins and Canadiens won’t face each other in the regular season, the season won’t disappoint. There will be 10 Battles of Alberta, Zdeno Chara facing the Bruins, and the last two teams left standing in 2019-20 — the Lightning and Stars — battling it out for a divisional playoff spot.

Here’s everything you need to know about the NHL’s 2021 season openers, including the start date and TV schedules for all 31 teams.

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When does the 2021 NHL season start?

  • Date: Wednesday, Jan. 13

The regular season kicks off Jan. 13 with five games on the slate and 17 teams making their debuts the next day. On Thursday, two teams were scheduled to play their season opener but the game has been postponed. The Stars announced on Friday that six players and two staffers tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the team’s first three games — Jan. 14-15 at the Panthers and Jan. 17 at the Lighting — have been postponed. Dallas will now open the season Jan. 19 at the Lightning.

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For now, opening night will showcase the Battle of Pennsylvania, an Original Six meeting and the 2020 Stanley Cup champion Lightning raising their banners. The Lightning were scheduled to have a small number of fans in attendance at the game but on Friday the team announced that Amalie Arena will be closed to the public through, at least, Feb. 5 because of rising coronavirus cases in the area.

NHL TV schedule for 2021 opening night

TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV CHANNEL
5:30 p.m. Penguins at Flyers NBCSN, SN1
7 p.m. Canadiens at Maple Leafs SN, TVAS
8 p.m. Blackhawks at Lightning NBCSN
10 p.m. Canucks at Oilers SN, SN1, TVAS2
10:30 p.m. Blues at Avalanche NBCSN

NHL 2021 opening game schedule

Here’s a list of the season openers for all 31 teams, as well as start times and TV channels.

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(All times are Eastern)

TEAM MATCHUP TIME CHANNEL
Anaheim Ducks Thurs., Jan. 14 at Golden Knights 10 p.m. ATTSN-RM
Arizona Coyotes Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Sharks 9 p.m. FS-A
Boston Bruins Thurs., Jan. 14 at Devils 7 p.m. MSG+
Buffalo Sabres Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Capitals 7 p.m. SN360, SNE, SNO, MSG-B, NBCSWA
Calgary Flames Thurs., Jan. 14 at Jets 8 p.m. SNW
Carolina Hurricanes Thurs., Jan. 14 at Red Wings 7:30 p.m. FS-D, FS-CR
Chicago Blackhawks Wed., Jan. 13 at Lightning 8 p.m. NBCSN
Colorado Avalanche Wed., Jan. 13 vs. Blues 10:30 p.m. NBCSN
Columbus Blue Jackets Thurs., Jan. 14 at Predators 8 p.m. FS-TN
Dallas Stars Tues., Jan. 19 at Lightning 7 p.m. SUN
Detroit Red Wings Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Hurricanes 7:30 p.m. FS-D, FS-CR
Edmonton Oilers Wed., Jan. 13 vs. Canucks 10 p.m. SN, SN1, TVAS2
Florida Panthers Sun., Jan. 17 vs. Blackhawks 7 p.m. SN, FS-F, NBCSCH
Los Angeles Kings Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Wild 10 p.m. FS-N, FS-WI
Minnesota Wild Thurs., Jan. 14 at Kings 10 p.m. FS-N, FS-WI
Montreal Canadiens Wed., Jan. 13 at Maple Leafs 7 p.m. SN, TVAS
Nashville Predators Thurs., Jan. 13 vs. Blue Jackets 8 p.m. FS-TN
New Jersey Devils Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Bruins 7 p.m. MSG+
New York Islanders Thurs., Jan. 14 at Rangers 7 p.m. MSG, TVAS
New York Rangers Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Islanders 7 p.m. MSG, TVAS
Ottawa Senators Fri., Jan. 15 vs. Maple Leafs 7 p.m. TSN5
Philadelphia Flyers Wed., Jan. 13 vs. Penguins 5:30 p.m. NBCSN, SN1
Pittsburgh Penguins Wed., Jan. 13 at Flyers 5:30 p.m. NBCSN, SN1
St. Louis Blues Wed., Jan. 13 at Avalanche 10:30 p.m. NBCSN
San Jose Sharks Thurs., Jan. 14 at Coyotes 9 p.m. FS-A
Tampa Bay Lightning Wed., Jan. 13 vs. Blackhawks 8 p.m. NBCSN
Toronto Maple Leafs Wed., Jan. 13 vs. Canadiens 7 p.m. SN, TVAS
Vancouver Canucks Wed., Jan. 13 at Oilers 10 p.m. SN, SN1, TVAS2
Vegas Golden Knights Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Ducks 10 p.m. ATTSN-RM
Washington Capitals Thurs., Jan. 14 at Sabres 7 p.m. SN360, SNE, SNO, MSG-B, NBCSWA
Winnipeg Jets Thurs., Jan. 14 vs. Flames 8 p.m. SNW
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