The Florida Panthers were supposed to just have one nationally broadcast game on the NBC family of networks when the original schedule came out.
But, due to changes related to Covid-19 breakouts on other teams. Florida’s game in Detroit originally slated for Feb. 21 was moved up a day and was not within the NBC window.
So, no games for the Panthers then.
The Panthers unexpectedly turning into one of the top teams in the NHL has apparently caught the attention of NBC as two games have now been added.
It’s sort of a Florida Flex.
Of the six games NBC SportsNet has added to its schedule, two include the Panthers: April 15 at Tampa Bay and April 29 at Chicago.
NBC, when it originally announced its 2021 broadcast schedule, left room to add matchups that had playoff significance and these two Panthers games definitely fit that description.
The Panthers and Lightning could be fighting it out for the top spot in the Central division; Chicago is trying to take the fourth and final playoff spot in the division.
More games could be added moving forward.
As for local fans, the NBC coverage does not really matter; the games are subject to local blackout rules which means they will be broadcast locally by Fox Sports Florida as usual.
For fans outside of the Panthers market who do not have the NHL package, well, this is a chance to see their team.
And, it obviously gives the Panthers a spot on the national stage.
If the Panthers were to be added to the NBC over-the-air Sunday package as the season comes to a close, those games would be exclusive to the national broadcaster.
Florida continues its five-game road trip Tuesday in Chicago with the FSF broadcast starting at 8.