By David Dwork

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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers are looking to bounce-back after last season’s disappointing follow up to the team’s first division title.

The Panthers will have a different look up front after losing two of their top forwards, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

On Thursday the NHL released the full schedule for the 2016-17 season.

Florida will open the new year on the road against cross-state rival Tampa Bay on October 6th.

They’ll face Tampa again the following night at Florida’s home opener.

The Panthers will play eight of their first 13 games of the season at the BB&T Center.

They also finish the season with four straight games at home, a stretch that could have serious playoff implications.

Here are some highlights of the Panthers home schedule.


The Vegas Golden Knights will make their first visit to the BB&T Center on January 19th. The first game between the two teams will be played in Las Vegas on December 17th.


The Panthers will face interstate rival Tampa Bay four times this season, with three of the four games coming in the month of October.

Florida will host the Lightning on October 7th and 30th.

The two teams will close out their season series on March 6th in Tampa.


Florida will welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to the BB&T Center on Friday, October 20th.


Of the Cats 41 home games, 13 will take place on Saturday, 11 on Thursday, seven on Friday, four on Monday and Tuesday and just one on Wednesday and Sunday.


The Panthers longest homestand will be six games bridging February and March.  There will be three separate five-game road trips Florida will go on, so nothing too crazy to endure.


All weekday Panthers home games will begin at 7:30 p.m. with one exception (11/22 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.). Weekend home games will see the puck drop at 7 p.m. with two exceptions (3/4 vs Philadelphia, 3 p.m., and 3/17 vs. Edmonton, 2 p.m.).

To see the full schedule, click here.


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