After an interesting couple of days, from injury news to posing for pictures with cute little puppies, the Capitals are back on the road and have a challenging journey ahead. With a 4-4-1 record through the first nine games of the season, the Capitals need to turn things around to get back on the right track, but it won’t be easy.
An injury bug and three tough opponents away from home over a stretch of five days will be one of the biggest challenges for both the veterans and the newbies alike. Let’s take a look at each team the Caps will face and see what they’re up against.
Thursday Oct. 26 – 10:00 PM EST
The Canucks are off to a decent start which makes my fellow NoVa Caps contributor George Foussekis happy. Like the Capitals, the Canucks are banged up with knee injuries to Troy Stecher, Alexander Edler, Loui Eriksson, and a shoulder injury to Brandon Gaunce.
The Canucks enter Thursday’s contest against Washington riding a three-game winning streak with victories over the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, and the Minnesota Wild and are in third place in the Pacific Division.
Saturday Oct. 28 – 10:00 PM EST
While the Oilers are enduring some early season struggles of their own, this is still a very dangerous team that the Capitals cannot take lightly. The Oilers feature reigning MVP Connor McDavid, who leads the team in goals (4) and points (9). They will play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, and the Dallas Stars on Thursday before their game with the Capitals on Saturday.
Part of the struggles was due to (you guessed it) injuries to key players, but the Oilers received good news Tuesday morning that McDavid’s sidekick Leon Draisaitl, as well as Drake Caggiula, who were both sidelined due to concussions, will be cleared to play. Their returns come just in time for last night’s thriller in Pittsburgh and it will certainly add some spice to Saturday night.
McDavid scored in that game against the Penguins but the Oilers still fell 2-1 in overtime.
Sunday Oct. 29 – 9:00 PM EST
With a .500 record, the Flames take part in a back-to-back road swing that began Tuesday in Nashville and ending Wednesday in St. Louis. On Friday, they’ll host the Stars. Johnny Gaudreau leads the Flames with 12 points (two goals, 10 assists), while Sean Monahan leads the team in goals with five.
The Flames came into Tuesday’s game against the defending Western Conference champs having dropped three of their last four. All three defeats came on their home ice.
The Flames got the win over Nashville 3-2 in a shootout
The Capitals hope this road trip can bring the team closer together. With each team having a few weaknesses, it’s a tough challenge ahead but not impossible. If the Caps can string some points together and come off a good road trip, they can head back to DC with the goal of turning their play around on home ice.
By Michael Marzzacco