The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers will have to save their animosity towards each other for the regular season.
Florida and Tampa Bay were scheduled to face each other Thursday, Oct. 6 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL, but the NHL has postponed the preseason matchup due to Hurricane Matthew, which is already causing severe damage along the southeastern part of the United States. Interestingly, the NHL officially said the game is “postponed” and not “cancelled” yet there appears to be no plans to reschedule the contest.
Both teams each have one more preseason game on their schedule slated for this weekend. Florida will face the New Jersey Devils while Tampa Bay is set up to play the Nashville Predators.
This is the first time that the Panthers have been forced to move a game because of a storm since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That storm damaged the arena and surrounding areas, causing the Panthers to temporarily relocate. Hurricane Wilma actually damaged the team’s practice facility in Coral Springs so badly, it had to be rebuilt.
The Panthers’ final preseason game against the Devils is to be played in New York at West Point. The team planned to leave after practice Friday morning, but they could depart earlier to avoid the storm.
Last season was the first time since 1995-1996 that both the Panthers and Lightning reached the postseason. With both teams aiming for playoff berths once again this season, it could lead to a more intense matchups between the two Florida-based franchises.
Their first regular season matchup will be Tuesday, Oct. 18.