Penguins-Lightning, Kraken-Golden Knights open NHL season

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The reigning champion Tampa Bay Lighting host the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Seattle Kraken face the Vegas Golden Knights in two hockey matchups Tuesday, opening the 2021-22 NHL season.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) will miss his team's first game Tuesday as he recovers from off-season wrist surgery. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers start their season against the Vancouver Canucks at 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. File Photo by BIll Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Center Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs start their season against the Montreal Canadiens at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Toronto. File Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

Left wing Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals start their season against the New York Rangers at 7:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Washington, D.C. File Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

Right wing Bryan Rust and the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game of the 2021-22 NHL season at 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 12 (UPI) --

"Going against the guys who won last year is always a challenge," Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen told reporters Monday.

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"We play these guys right off the bat. We are going down there to win two games. That could be a huge advantage for us."

Each of the NHL's 32 teams returns to a standard 82-game regular season for the first time since 2018-19. The last two NHL seasons were shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lightning are among the favorites to win another crown. They host the Penguins in the first game of the new campaign at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

"We've really hit a threshold with this team," Lightning coach Jon Cooper told reporters Monday. "It's all business. These guys really know…
Alex Butler
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