A three-peat in hockey hasn't been accomplished since the early 1980s. This is the year the Tampa Bay Lightning hope to change that.
The road to a third consecutive Stanley Cup Championship starts Tuesday night at AMALIE Arena when the Bolts take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's banner-raising night and the electricity in the building will be incredible.
Fans in the arena will see lots of familiar faces sporting the blue and white, but also some new ones. Here are some of the moves the Lightning made this offseason:
- Yanni Gourde
- Barclay Goodrow
- Blake Coleman
- Luke Schenn
- Tyler Johnson
- Corey Perry
- Zach Bogosian
- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
You can see the full roster below:
Ladies and gentlemen, your Tampa Bay Lightning! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/GZ6FqowhCL
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 11, 2021
Tampa Bay is also returning Coach Jon Cooper, who signed a 3-year extension Monday.
This season will look a little different than the last two years, as the schedule is finally back to normal. Fans who are tired of seeing the same seven teams all season (Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars) will rejoice when they see a normal-looking schedule again.
Divisions have also been set back to normal following last year's realignment.
The Bolts start the season against a team they haven't seen since Feb. 11, 2020. But that team will be missing a major piece on opening night. The face of the Penguins' franchise Sidney Crosby will miss at least the first game of the year as he deals with a wrist injury.
And as if seeing a different team for the first time in a while and raising the banner wasn't enough, there will be another added element of emotion in the season opener Tuesday. Longtime national anthem singer Sonya Bryson-Kirksey will return to the ice to sing the Star-Spangled Banner after a grueling battle with COVID-19. She spent a considerable time in the ICU but recovered as the community rallied around her. Expect thunderous applause when her name is announced before the game.
Tampa Bay heads on the road to face the Red Wings and Washington Capitals before returning home for two against the Panthers and Colorado Avalanche.
You can catch the season opener against Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.