NHL announces dates and times for Return To Play exhibition games

By WGR 550 SportsRadio

Phase 3 of the National Hockey League's Return To Play plan kicked off on Monday with all 24 teams taking part in this summer's playoffs reporting to training camp in their home cities. Come Sunday, July 26, each team will be traveling to their respective hub city in Canada to get ready for the commencement of Phase 4 on Saturday, Aug. 1 in either Edmonton, Alberta or Toronto, Ontario.

Just before the league kicks off the official return of play on Aug. 1, each team will get the chance to play an exhibition game to prepare for game action once again after more than four months off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NHL announced on Tuesday the dates and times for each team's exhibition game that will be played between Tuesday, July 28 and Thursday, July 30.

Hockey. In July.12 exhibition games are on the schedule later this month ahead of the #StanleyCup Qualifiers. https://t.co/64XfKl1jJy pic.twitter.com/ApuIKYP2M2

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 14, 2020

A total of 12 games will be played over a three-day span with three games coming on July 28, six games scheduled for July 29, and three more games to round out the exhibition games on July 30. All of these exhibition games will have a geographical tie to them with most of the teams facing their closest division rival. The only non-divisional exhibition matchup will take place between the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets on July 30 in Toronto.

The league also announced on Tuesday the starting times for all of the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round games, as well as the seeding round-robin games.

Start times for the first five days of the #StanleyCup Qualifiers are locked in, beginning with about 15 hours of action on Saturday, Aug. 1. https://t.co/o4BjkRgvSm pic.twitter.com/nQlzPnl8oh

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 14, 2020

The Return To Play format kicks off on Aug. 1 with five games on the docket, starting with the Carolina Hurricanes taking on the New York Rangers at 12 p.m. ET in Game 1 of their series in Toronto.

The @NYRangers swept the season series in 2019-20, but will last year's playoff experience help propel the @Canes past their Metropolitan Division rivals? #StanleyCup#NHLStats: https://t.co/z8kyiktYH3 pic.twitter.com/QaSZmP9NQE

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 14, 2020

Toronto will also host two more games on Aug. 1 with the New York Islanders squaring off with the Florida Panthers at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins battling it out with the Montreal Canadiens at 8 p.m. ET.

It’s a rematch from the 2016 First Round.Will the @NYIslanders come out on top again or do the @FlaPanthers have what it takes to take the sequel? #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/nKw1xnDbeN pic.twitter.com/Mf5EzTEjZO

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 14, 2020

A couple of seasoned veterans will square off when Sidney Crosby and the @penguins take on Shea Weber and the @CanadiensMTL. Who has the edge? #StanleyCup#NHLStats: https://t.co/PCMwRny0CA pic.twitter.com/FwNoWc5Pj5

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 14, 2020

In the Western Conference, play starts at 3 p.m. ET on Aug. 1 with the Edmonton Oilers playing host to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their series. Following that game, the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets wrap up the night with the last matchup of Day 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

It’s simple. @cmcdavid97 and Leon Draisaitl vs. @JonathanToews and @88PKane. Who you got? #StanleyCup#NHLStats: https://t.co/wIXQNfs2dO pic.twitter.com/tZioZGsnL0

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 15, 2020

It's an all-Canadian showdown when @MarkGio05 and the @NHLFlames face off against @BiggieFunke and the @NHLJets Pick your side! #StanleyCup#NHLStats: https://t.co/sYEBfdLXXF pic.twitter.com/18hsw1TGIn

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 15, 2020

The other three qualifying round series will get underway on Sunday, Aug. 2 with the Nashville Predators taking on the Arizona Coyotes at 2 p.m. ET, the Toronto Maple Leafs matching up with the Columbus Blue Jackets at 8 p.m. ET, and ending with the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild meeting in Edmonton at 10:30 p.m. ET.

With their captains leading the charge, @rjosi90 and the @PredsNHL collide with @OEL23 and the @ArizonaCoyotes. Who comes out on top? #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/KIiJvP5C17 pic.twitter.com/UTgjBiKBkD

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 15, 2020

After a career-high 47 goals, will @AM34 lead the @MapleLeafs to victory or will @ZachWerenski and the @BlueJacketsNHL burst out of the gates like in 2019? #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/hHN0oss9ON pic.twitter.com/lQUjaTjJjG

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 15, 2020

It’s Vancouver’s youth vs. Minnesota’s experience. Who takes this best-of-five showdown, @_EPettersson and the @Canucks or Zach Parise and the @mnwild? #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/y2bLUkmptr pic.twitter.com/071u0z1zp3

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 15, 2020

As for the seeding round-robin tournament, those games will get underway on Aug. 2, starting with the Boston Bruins facing the Philadelphia Flyers in Toronto at 3 p.m. ET. Also playing on Aug. 2 will be the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche, who square off at 6:30 p.m. in Edmonton.

Here is the complete schedule for the seeding round-robin games:

Sunday, Aug. 2:

  • Bruins vs, Flyers - 3 p.m. ET
  • Blues vs. Avalanche - 6:30 p.m. ET

Monday, Aug. 3:

  • Lightning vs. Capitals - 4 p.m. ET
  • Golden Knights vs. Stars - 6:30 p.m. ET

Wednesday, Aug. 5:

  • Bruins vs. Lightning - 4 p.m. ET
  • Stars vs. Avalanche - 6:30 p.m. ET

Thursday, Aug. 6:

  • Blues vs. Golden Knights - TBD
  • Flyers vs. Capitals - TBD

Saturday, Aug. 8:

  • Avalanche vs. Golden Knights - TBD
  • Capitals vs. Bruins - TBD

Sunday, Aug. 9:

  • Blues vs. Stars - TBD
  • Lightning vs. Flyers - TBD


Stay tuned for the latest on this developing story...