Photo: NHL Via Getty Images
It always seems to follow a Stanley Cup winning team in the fall like a normal fall cold. The dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover” is something that usually follows a Stanley Cup Championship winning team in the early fall of the following season.
The Capitals have 10 games in the month of October to open the 2018-19 regular season. Five of these games are at home, and five are on the road. Three of the road games take place in Western Canada at the end of the month.
THE FIRST FIVE ARE TOUGH
The Capitals have a couple of back-to-back sets in their first couple of weeks. These back-to-back sets feature Boston and Vegas at home, and Pittsburgh and New Jersey on the road.
There is likely some revenge on the minds of the Golden Knights and Penguins early on, as the Capitals eliminated both clubs from the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both clubs should compete for the top spot in their respective Divisions.
BRIEF HOME STAND
After the back-to-back sets against playoff caliber opponents, the Capitals will get visits from Toronto, New York (Rangers), and Florida.
Barring good health, the Capitals will see John Tavares for the first time in a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. The Maple Leafs should be vastly improved from last season, and could very well compete for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
The Rangers are a club that is in rebuild right now, but they have been one of the Capitals notable playoff foes in years past. The Rangers have a new Coach with David Quinn, as he came to them from Boston University (NCAA).
Florida is a team that always seems to give the Capitals fits, and the Panthers will look to slow the Capitals momentum down early in the season. The Panthers missed the playoffs last season, and they will look to get off to a good start against a Capitals team that could have a slow start.
The Capitals surprisingly struggled in Western Canada in 2017-18. Last year, they went 1-2 on the Western Canada trip, as their only win on the trip was in Edmonton. The Capitals defeated the Oilers 5-2 on that trip.
The Capitals will likely face improved Canucks, Oilers, and Flames clubs in 2018-19. Former Capital Jay Beagle will reunite with his old teammates on October 22.
A BUSY START BUT A MANAGEBLE EARLY OCTOBER
In the Capitals first 10 games of 2018-19, they will face five playoff teams and five non-playoff teams from 2017-18.
The Capitals will see the five playoff caliber clubs in their first five games. The Capitals need to jump out of the gates early, and not get too far behind. If the Capitals do fall behind early, there is room for them to bounce back and finish October off strong.
The Stanley Cup hangover is real. The Capitals need to be aware of this and they need to come out of the gates flying. The Capitals will be target this upcoming season. They will be the measuring stick set for all 30 other clubs.
By: George Foussekis