The NHL announced on December 20 that the 2021 regular season has kicked off and will begin on January 13.
The schedule, a condensed 56-game sprint before the Stanley Cup playoffs, was designed in the hope that some games would have to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN: “The key word this season is ‘agility’.” The increase in cases in the United States and Canada was unfortunately to have an impact on the games.
As mentioned before, the key word for this season is “agility”. I suspect the schedule will change several times for several teams throughout the season, in all likelihood due to positive tests. Get used to it. https://t.co/T3GklgInCk
– Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 8, 2021
On January 8, that expectation came true after the Stars announced that six players and two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The team closed their training facility as a precaution, and as news came six days before Dallas started the season, their first three games have been postponed.
Also on January 8, the Blue Jackets announced on the same day that they “had held a number of players out of” team training that day “out of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.” . The team has yet to postpone any game.
As of February 2, a total of 18 games have been postponed due to COVID-19 affecting at least one club.
NHL games impacted by COVID-19
|Game date ppd.||Thu||Reprogramming date|
|Thu, Jan 14||Stars with panthers||Mon., Feb. 22|
|Fri, Jan 15||Stars with panthers||Mon May 3|
|Sunday January 17th||Lightning stars||Tuesday May 4|
|Tuesday January 19||Lightning stars||Mon, May 10|
|Tuesday January 19||Hurricanes among predators *||Tuesday March 2|
|Thursday January 21||Panthers in hurricanes||February 17|
|Sat, Jan 23||Panthers in hurricanes||Sun March 7|
|Tuesday January 26||Lightning to hurricanes||Mon., Feb. 22|
|Thursday January 28||Blues at Golden Knights||Mon, March 22|
|Mon., Feb. 1||Golden Knights with Sharks||Sun 13 February|
|Tuesday February 2||Devils with penguins||Sun March 21|
|Tuesday February 2||Sabers at Islanders||Mon., Feb. 22|
|Wednesday February 3||Golden Knights with Sharks||Thursday February 25|
|Thursday 4 February||Devils with penguins||Tuesday April 20|
|Thursday 4 February||Sabers at Islanders||Thursday March 4|
|Thursday 4 February||Savage in the avalanche||February 24|
|Sat, Feb. 6||Rangers at Devils||Thursday March 4|
|Sat, Feb. 6||Sabers at Bruins||Saturday March 27|
|Sat, Feb. 6||Coyotes to Wild||Tuesday March 16|
|Sat, Feb. 6||Avalanche at Blues||Wednesday April 14|
|Sun February 7||Avalanche at Blues||Tuesday April 20|
|Sun February 7||Coyotes to Wild||Wednesday April 14|
|Mon., Feb. 8||Sabers at Bruins||Tuesday April 13|
|Tuesday February 9||Blues at Wild||Mon April 12|
|Tuesday February 9||Flyers to capitals||Tuesday April 13|
|Tuesday February 9||Coyotes at Avalanche||Wednesday March 31|
|Thursday February 11||Coyotes at Avalanche||Mon April 12|
|Thursday February 11||Capitals with sabers||Mon, March 15|
|Thursday February 11||Blues at Wild||Thursday March 25|
|Thursday February 11||Devils to Flyers||Sun 25 April|
|Sat, Feb. 13||Capitals with sabers||Fri April 9|
|Sat, Feb. 13||Savage among kings||Fri 23 April|
|Sat, Feb. 13||Devils to Flyers||Mon, May 10|
|Sun, February 14||Flyers at Rangers||Thursday April 22|
|Mon., Feb. 15||Devils at Bruins||Sun March 7|
|Thursday February 25||Golden Knights with Sharks||Fri 23 April|
|Sat 20 March||Saber Bruins|
|Tuesday 23 March||Islanders in Bruins|
* Hurricanes at Predators was the first NHL game to be postponed on the day of.
Due to the postponement of the Dallas games in January, the following games were also affected:
- Panthers at Red Wings, originally scheduled for February 21, is now Saturday February 20.
- Stars at Panthers, originally scheduled for February 23, is now Wednesday February 24.
- Sabers at Penguins, originally scheduled for March 27, is now Friday March 26.
- Bruins at Capitals, originally scheduled for April 11, is now Saturday. April 10.
- Penguins at Sabers, originally scheduled for April 20, is now Monday April 19.
- Panthers at Lightning, originally scheduled for May 4, is now Tuesday March 16.
After the Carolina games were postponed in January, the following games were also reversed:
- Blue Jackets at Hurricanes, originally scheduled for February 16, is now Monday February 15.
- Panthers at Lightning, originally scheduled for February 16, is now Monday February 15.
- Hurricanes in Lightning, originally scheduled for February 22, are now Wednesday, February 24.
With the postponement of three Golden Knights games, the following games have also been changed:
- Ducks at Sharks, originally scheduled for February 13, is now Tuesday April 6.
- Golden Knights at Ducks, originally scheduled for February 26, is now Friday April 23.
- Blues at Sharks, originally scheduled for February 26, is now Monday March 8.
After the Avalanche and Wild were closed for a week, the NHL adjusted the schedule and moved two games from March to February:
- Coyotes at Blues, originally scheduled for March 29, is now Saturday February 6.
- Coyotes at Blues, originally scheduled for March 31, is now Monday February 8.
With a number of teams closed, on February 9 the NHL changed another game and now the Blues and Coyotes will play seven consecutive games against each other.
- Blues at Coyotes, originally scheduled for April 15, is now Friday February 12.
On February 16, the NHL announced the 30-game shift to the 2021 schedule (29 date changes, one is a time change).
The NHL announced the rescheduling, or change in starting times, for a number of games on February 23.