Preds

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Just two seasons after playing in their first Winter Classic, the Nashville Predators can check another milestone off their list as the NHL announced the franchise will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2022 Stadium Series in Nashville.

The game is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2022, at Nissan Stadium. It would mark the second time the Predators have played in an outdoor game, and pending a sellout, Nissan Stadium’s 67,700 capacity would be the second-largest crowd the Predators have played in front of behind the 85,630 fans at the Cotton Bowl in 2020.

“Thank you SMASHVILLE for making our city the choice for another marquee event!” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry tweeted. “Excited to partner with the Titans to bring this about and make it bigger and better than any hosted yet!”

Nashville has long been considered a destination city for marquee events such as the NHL Draft in 2003 and the NHL All Star game in 2016, which drew a crowd of 17,113.

The Predators have lobbied to host an outdoor game for a number of years, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman publicly admitted in January 2020 that Nashville makes sense as a possible future destination to host an outdoor game.

"At some point, we'd like to bring an outdoor game here," Bettman said while visiting Bridgestone Arena last year. “…If the logistics of having stadium availability [for a Winter Classic] can't be worked out, then we'll come for a Stadium Series game, provided we're allowed to use the stadium.

"…This is a world-class destination, and this is a city that knows how to host major events. We love coming here, and the events we've had here have been incredibly successful. Nashville is a place that we know works and works extraordinarily well. It's a function of what the city has to offer, and there's a great fan base."

The 2022 Stadium Series is the first nationally featured game the Predators have played in since the 2020 Winter Classic.

The team was supposed to play against SC Bern in the PostFinance Arena in Bern, Switzerland, during training camp last year and the Boston Bruins in the 2020 season opener in the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, as part of the NHL Global Series. Those games were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_

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