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The Washington Capitals have closed the door on February and spring is quickly approaching. The Capitals went 9-4-1 in February and are hoping their success continues into a grueling March.
March will not be easy to get through for the Washington Capitals. The Capitals will get a heavy dose of the Metropolitan Division and other formidable foes during the month. Let’s dive in to the key matchups and critical points in the schedule for the Capitals over the next few weeks.
FIFTEEN GAMES ON THE SLATE
The Capitals have fifteen games in March. Ten of the fifteen games are against the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals will also see Tampa three times in two weeks, and will see Winnipeg and Minnesota at home.
KEY METROPOLITAN DIVISION MATCHUPS
To kick off March, the Capitals will head to New York for a pair of games with the Islanders and Rangers. These games will be a challenge for the Capitals. The Islanders currently lead the Division, but the Capitals are within striking distance. The Capitals and Rangers provided fans with a thrilling game last Sunday in DC, so the matchup could be very entertaining when the Capitals visit Madison Square Garden on March 3.
The Capitals will see plenty of orange and black with the Philadelphia Flyers in March. The Capitals will make two trips to Philly, and will see the Flyers once in DC. The Flyers are on the outside of the playoffs looking in, but are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Despite a heavy dose of the Metropolitan Division in March, the Capitals will only see the Penguins once in this month. The Capitals will square off against the Penguins on March 12 in Pittsburgh, and they will likely face a Pittsburgh team that is not healthy on the blueline. The Penguins are currently slotted in the Wild Card, so this game should be one to circle on the calendar.
At the end of the month, the Capitals have a key home-and-home series with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are now in the playoff hunt and are right behind the Capitals in the Metropolitan Division standings. The Hurricanes are hanging tough and are riding this “Storm Surge” wave by translating it into wins on the ice.
Sprinkled in March are a couple of matchups with the New Jersey Devils. The Capitals will face the Devils on March 8 in DC and on March 19 in Newark. The Devils are on the outside looking in, but have given the Capitals trouble in the past. The four points up for grabs in these games are important for the Capitals.
THE LIGHTNING ARE ROLLING
The Capitals and Lightning are two of the Eastern Conference heavyweights. While the Lightning are running away with the East and the rest of the NHL, the Capitals should give them a tough challenge.
The Capitals and Lightning have been very consistent teams over the last number of years. Both clubs make regular appearances in the playoffs and both clubs are two favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Both clubs have a pair of Russian superstars who can put the puck in the net with Nikita Kucherov and Alex Ovechkin. The matchups with the Lightning are going to be tough, but the Capitals tend to be up for the occasion in this matchup.
By: George Foussekis