The NHL announced Dec. 20 that the 2021 regular season was a go and would begin Jan. 13.
The schedule, a 56-game condensed sprint to the Stanley Cup playoffs, was devised with the expectation that some games would have to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun: “The key word this season is ‘nimble.'” The rise in cases in the United States and Canada was expected, unfortunately, to impact games.
As mentioned before, the key word this season is `nimble.’ My guess is the schedule is going to change many times for several teams throughout the season in all likelihood because of positive tests. Get used to this. https://t.co/T3GklgInCk
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 8, 2021
On Jan. 8, that expectation came to fruition after the Stars announced six players and two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The team shut down its training facility as a precaution, and because the news came six days before the start of Dallas’ season, its first three games were postponed.
Also on Jan. 8, the Blue Jackets announced the same day that they “held a number of players out of” the team’s practice that day “out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols.” The team did not yet postpone any games.
As of Feb. 2, a total of 18 games have been postponed due to COVID-19 impacting at least one club.
NHL games impacted by COVID-19
|Date of game ppd.||Game||Reschedule date|
|Thu., Jan. 14||Stars at Panthers||Mon., Feb. 22|
|Fri., Jan. 15||Stars at Panthers||Mon., May 3|
|Sun., Jan. 17||Stars at Lightning||Tues., May 4|
|Tues., Jan. 19||Stars at Lightning||Mon., May 10|
|Tues., Jan. 19||Hurricanes at Predators*||Tues., March 2|
|Thurs., Jan. 21||Panthers at Hurricanes||Wed., Feb. 17|
|Sat., Jan. 23||Panthers at Hurricanes||Sun., March 7|
|Tues., Jan. 26||Lightning at Hurricanes||Mon., Feb. 22|
|Thurs., Jan. 28||Blues at Golden Knights||Mon, March 22|
|Mon., Feb. 1||Golden Knights at Sharks||Sun., Feb. 13|
|Tues., Feb. 2||Devils at Penguins||Sun., March 21|
|Tues., Feb. 2||Sabres at Islanders||Mon., Feb. 22|
|Wed., Feb. 3||Golden Knights at Sharks||Thurs., Feb. 25|
|Thurs., Feb. 4||Devils at Penguins||Tues., April 20|
|Thurs., Feb. 4||Sabres at Islanders||Thurs., March 4|
|Thurs., Feb. 4||Wild at Avalanche||Wed., Feb. 24|
|Sat., Feb. 6||Rangers at Devils||Thurs., March 4|
|Sat., Feb. 6||Sabres at Bruins||Sat., March 27|
|Sat., Feb. 6||Coyotes at Wild||Tues., March 16|
|Sat., Feb. 6||Avalanche at Blues||Wed., April 14|
|Sun., Feb. 7||Avalanche at Blues||Tues., April 20|
|Sun., Feb. 7||Coyotes at Wild||Wed., April 14|
|Mon., Feb. 8||Sabres at Bruins||Tues., April 13|
|Tues., Feb. 9||Blues at Wild||Mon., April 12|
|Tues., Feb. 9||Flyers at Capitals||Tues., April 13|
|Tues., Feb. 9||Coyotes at Avalanche||Wed., March 31|
|Thurs., Feb. 11||Coyotes at Avalanche||Mon., April 12|
|Thurs., Feb. 11||Capitals at Sabres||Mon., March 15|
|Thurs., Feb. 11||Blues at Wild||Thurs., March 25|
|Thurs., Feb. 11||Devils at Flyers||Sun., April 25|
|Sat., Feb. 13||Capitals at Sabres||Fri., April 9|
|Sat., Feb. 13||Wild at Kings||Fri., April 23|
|Sat., Feb. 13||Devils at Flyers||Mon., May 10|
|Sun., Feb. 14||Flyers at Rangers||Thurs., April 22|
|Mon., Feb. 15||Devils at Bruins||Sun., March 7|
|Thurs., Feb. 25||Golden Knights at Sharks||Fri., April 23|
|Sat., March 20||Bruins at Sabres||Tues., April 20|
|Mon., March 22||Oilers at Canadiens^||Tues., March 30|
|Tues., March 23||Islanders at Bruins||Mon., May 10|
|Wed., March 24||Oilers at Canadiens||Mon., May 10|
|Fri., March 26||Oilers at Canadiens||Tues., May 11|
|Sun., March 28||Senators at Canadiens||Sat., April 17|
|Wed., March 31||Flames at Canucks|
|Sat., April 3||Canucks at Oilers|
|Sun., April 4||Canucks at Jets|
|Tues., April 6||Canucks at Jets|
|Thurs., April 8||Canucks at Flames|
|Sat., April 10||Canucks at Flames|
*Hurricanes at Predators was the first NHL game to be postponed on the day of.
^First North Division game postponed.
MORE: Canucks shut down — Timeline, variant concerns, schedule, what’s next
Due to Dallas’ games being postponed in January, the following games were also impacted:
- Panthers at Red Wings, originally scheduled for Feb. 21, is now Sat., Feb. 20.
- Stars at Panthers, originally scheduled for Feb. 23, is now Wed., Feb. 24.
- Sabres at Penguins, originally scheduled for March 27, is now Fri., March 26.
- Bruins at Capitals, originally scheduled for April 11, is now Sat. April 10.
- Penguins at Sabres, originally scheduled for April 20, is now Mon., April 19.
- Panthers at Lightning, originally scheduled for May 4, is now Tues., March 16
After Carolina’s games were postponed in January, the following games were also switched:
- Blue Jackets at Hurricanes, originally scheduled for Feb. 16, is now Mon., Feb. 15.
- Panthers at Lightning, originally scheduled for Feb. 16, is now Mon., Feb. 15.
- Hurricanes at Lightning, originally scheduled for Feb. 22, is now Wed., Feb. 24
With the postponement of three Golden Knights games, the following games were changed as well:
- Ducks at Sharks, originally scheduled for Feb.13, is now Tues., April 6
- Golden Knights at Ducks, originally scheduled for Feb. 26, is now Fri., April 23.
- Blues at Sharks, originally scheduled for Feb. 26, is now Mon., March 8.
After the Avalanche and Wild were shut down 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 Sat., Feb. 6.
- Coyotes at Blues, originally scheduled for March 31, is now Mon., Feb. 8.
With a number of teams shut down, on Feb. 9, the NHL shifted another game and now the Blues and Coyotes will play seven straight games against each other.
- Blues at Coyotes, originally scheduled for April 15, is now Fri., Feb. 12
On Feb. 16, the NHL announced the shifted of 30 games on the 2021 schedule (29 date changes, one is a time change).
The NHL announced the rescheduling, or shifting of start times, for a number of games on Feb. 23.
More schedule changes were announced on March 28, including seeing a number of games set for May 10.