The Washington Capitals will head into the 2017-18 season as the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners. Today, the NHL released the schedules for all 31 clubs, and the Capitals have some big games and challenging stretches on their new schedule.
What games should Capitals fans mark on their calendars for the upcoming season? What stretch of games could be the most challenging for the Capitals? Let’s dive in to the games that could make (or break) the Capitals regular season.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THESE GAMES
October 7 – Home opener versus Montreal Canadiens
October 11 – The back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins come to DC
December 23 – Capitals first trip to Las Vegas. Christmas in Vegas sounds like fun!
February 4 – Super Bowl Sunday matchup versus the Las Vegas Golden Knights
March 3 – Capitals host Maple Leafs in NHL Stadium Series Game in Annapolis, MD
April 5 – The defending Western Conference Champion Nashville Predators come to DC
THE TOUGHEST STRETCH OF GAMES
October 26 – October 29: The Capitals will travel to Western Canada to play 3 games in 4 nights. They will begin in Vancouver and will then travel to Edmonton and Calgary over the weekend.
November 18 – December 8: This is a long stretch of home cooking for the Capitals. The Capitals have 10 games during this stretch, 9 of which are at home. From December 2 to December 8, the Capitals will play 4 teams that made the postseason last year (Columbus, San Jose, Chicago, and the New York Rangers)
December 19 – December 23: The Capitals will spend a brief amount of time out west and will make their first trip to Las Vegas on December 23. On this road trip, the Capitals will also face Dallas and Arizona. The Capitals have not had a lot of success playing in Dallas or Arizona in recent time.
March 3 – March 10: After the Capitals play outdoors versus the Leafs on March 3, they will head out to California and will be there the following week. The Capitals will face Anaheim, Los Angeles, and San Jose on this trip.
There is no easy schedule around the NHL for any club. However, the Capitals are fortunate because they do not have any lengthy stretch away from Verizon Center. The longest road trip for the Capitals is 4 games, which they do twice this season.
The Capitals should plan to get on a roll in mid-November to early December. The Capitals have a long stretch of games at home during that time frame and need to win as many of those as they can.
The Capitals have a light January schedule, with the NHL All-Star Game and mandatory bye week factored into the schedule. The Capitals will play 10 games in January, with 8 of those contests scheduled against non-playoff teams.
With the new schedule, the Capitals have prime opportunities to get hot during the regular season and rack up a lot of key points. While the Capitals have a handful of back-to-backs this season, most of the back-to-backs are against familiar conference foes.
The Capitals schedule is very doable as constructed and the team should find plenty of success. They should be able to string some wins together if they stay focused and do not bomb any of their road trips or long stretches at home.
By: George Foussekis