Blue Jackets set to open 2021 season on Jan. 14; see the full schedule

Blue Jackets

FILE – In this Oct. 5, 2019, file photo, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella objects to a call during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh. The Blue Jackets’ body-banging, shot-blocking, harassing defensive style frustrated the offensively gifted Tampa Bay Lightning in a stunning first-round playoff sweep last year. Now, after a long break and hurried training camp, the Blue Jackets will see if they can summon that kind of intensity again in a playoff situation. This time it is the Toronto Maple Leafs, another team that relies heavily on a cadre of goal-scoring stars to make the difference. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Blue Jackets will make their long-awaited return Jan. 14 at Nashville, the first of a shortened 52-game regular season schedule for 2021.

The NHL announced the league schedules Wednesday afternoon. Columbus will join the Central Division for the season, along with other teams mostly from the Midwest to reduce travel times and decrease risks of exposure to COVID-19. The teams will only play division opponents in the regular season, with the top four teams in each division earning a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Columbus will open its home season Jan. 21 against the Stanley Cup champions from Tampa Bay. The schedule will mostly play out in two- or three-game series in the same town over a few days.

Columbus plans to begin its training camp Jan. 3.  The regular season is set to conclude May 8.

2020-21 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE (All Times ET)

Date           Day      Opponent                                Time

Jan. 14        Thu.      at Nashville Predators                 TBD

Jan. 16        Sat.       at Nashville Predators                 TBD

Jan. 18        Mon.    at Detroit Red Wings                   TBD

Jan. 19        Tue.      at Detroit Red Wings                   TBD

Jan. 21        Thu.      TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING              TBD

Jan. 23        Sat.       TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING              TBD

Jan. 26        Tue.      FLORIDA PANTHERS                    TBD

Jan. 28        Thu.      FLORIDA PANTHERS                    TBD

Jan. 29        Fri.       at Chicago Blackhawks                TBD

Jan. 31        Sun.      at Chicago Blackhawks                TBD

Feb. 2         Tue.      DALLAS STARS                            TBD

Feb. 4         Thu.      DALLAS STARS                            TBD

Feb. 7         Sun.      CAROLINA HURRICANES              TBD

Feb. 8         Mon.    CAROLINA HURRICANES              TBD

Feb. 11        Thu.      at Chicago Blackhawks                TBD

Feb. 13        Sat.       at Chicago Blackhawks                TBD

Feb. 16        Tue.      at Carolina Hurricanes                 TBD

Feb. 18        Thu.      NASHVILLE PREDATORS               TBD

Feb. 20        Sat.       NASHVILLE PREDATORS               TBD

Feb. 23        Tue.      CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS              TBD

Feb. 25        Thu.      CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS              TBD

Feb. 27        Sat.       at Nashville Predators                 TBD

Feb. 28        Sun.      at Nashville Predators                 TBD

Mar. 2         Tue.      DETROIT RED WINGS                  TBD

Mar. 4         Thu.      at Dallas Stars                            TBD

Mar. 6         Sat.       at Dallas Stars                            TBD

Mar. 9         Tue.      FLORIDA PANTHERS                    TBD

Mar. 11       Thu.      FLORIDA PANTHERS                    TBD

Date           Day      Opponent                                Time

Mar. 13       Sat.       DALLAS STARS                            TBD

Mar. 15       Mon.    DALLAS STARS                            TBD

Mar. 18       Thu.      at Carolina Hurricanes                 TBD

Mar. 20       Sat.       at Carolina Hurricanes                 TBD

Mar. 22       Mon.    CAROLINA HURRICANES              TBD

Mar. 25       Thu.      CAROLINA HURRICANES              TBD

Mar. 27       Sat.       at Detroit Red Wings                   TBD

Mar. 28       Sun.      at Detroit Red Wings                   TBD

Mar. 30       Tue.      at Tampa Bay Lightning               TBD

Apr. 1         Thu.      at Tampa Bay Lightning               TBD

Apr. 3         Sat.       at Florida Panthers                     TBD

Apr. 4         Sun.      at Florida Panthers                     TBD

Apr. 6         Tue.      TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING              TBD

Apr. 8         Thu.      TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING              TBD

Apr. 10        Sat.       CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS              TBD

Apr. 12        Mon.    CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS              TBD

Apr. 15        Thu.      at Dallas Stars                            TBD

Apr. 17        Sat.       at Dallas Stars                            TBD

Apr. 19        Mon.    at Florida Panthers                     TBD

Apr. 20        Tue.      at Florida Panthers                     TBD

Apr. 22        Thu.      at Tampa Bay Lightning               TBD

Apr. 25        Sun.      at Tampa Bay Lightning               TBD

Apr. 27        Tue.      DETROIT RED WINGS                  TBD

May 1         Sat.       at Carolina Hurricanes                 TBD

May 3         Mon.    NASHVILLE PREDATORS               TBD

May 5         Wed.    NASHVILLE PREDATORS               TBD

May 7         Fri.       DETROIT RED WINGS                  TBD

May 8         Sat.       DETROIT RED WINGS                  TBD

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