Lace up the skates!

The National Hockey League opens its 2018-19 season in just a few weeks. Sports Writer Jordan Dabbour gives a preview for the Lightning's season ahead.

The Tampa Bay Lightning open their 2018-19 season in just a few weeks.

The Tampa Bay Lightning open their 2018-19 season in just a few weeks.

Jordan Dabbour, Staff Writer & Social Media Coordinator

Aug. 31, 2018

The time is almost here! The National Hockey League season is starting soon. 31 teams will battle for the Stanley Cup with top contenders from the east and the west. The Eastern Conference contenders could be the Boston Bruins, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Tampa Bay Lightning, or reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals. The Western Conference contenders could be the Vegas Golden Knights, the Winnipeg Jets, the St. Louis Blues, the Nashville Predators, or the San Jose Sharks.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, led by their Captain, Steven Stamkos, 28, are going to push for the Stanley Cup playoffs once again. Nicknamed “The Bolts,” the team has reached the Stanley Cup playoffs three times in their past four seasons.

This year, their first game will be held on Oct. 6, 2018, starting at 7 p.m. at Amalie Arena.

Stamkos has six years left on his contract with the Lightning after signing an extension for eight years’ worth $8.5 million dollars on June 29, 2016. Stamkos and his teammate, Nikita Kucherov, 25, are two of the highest scoring players in Lightning history. Stamkos had 27 goals and 59 assists during the 2017-18 season, totaling 86 points; while Kucherov had 39 goals and 61 assists, leading him to the 100 point mark, and making Kucherov only the third player in Lightning history to reach 100 points in a single season.