Start Fast Or Lose Ground Quickly: The Capitals Need to Have a Strong October in 2019

oshie-backstrom
Photo: @Capitals

The month of October will be a doozy for the Washington Capitals.  The Capitals will open their season on the road on October 2 and will face the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues.

October is not particularly the strongest month for the Capitals.  The Capitals went 5-3-2 in October 2018.

October 2019 will be challenging for the Capitals right off the bat.  The Capitals will play seven teams in the first three weeks of the regular season that made the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After the early three-week gauntlet, the Capitals will hit the road for five straight games.  They will first take on a Blackhawks team that will likely be improved from a season ago.  After the Capitals face the Blackhawks, they will hit the road for Western Canada and will play three games in four nights out there.  Once the Capitals leave Western Canada, they will head back east and will face the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road.

DO NOT SLEEP ON THE NON-PLAYOFF TEAMS

The Washington Capitals will face four non-playoff teams from a season ago in October.  Those teams include the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks.

The Rangers had a memorable offseason, as they landed Kaapo Kakko with the #2 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.  In addition to Kakko, the Rangers landed the biggest free agent of the summer with Artemi Panarin.  The Rangers rebuild may have accelerated a bit over the summer with their newest additions.  The Rangers finished with only 78 points in the standings a season ago, but they will likely trend up after their great summer.

The Blackhawks had the #3 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and selected Kirby Dach with that selection.  Dach is a big forward, who could likely crack the Blackhawks opening roster next season.

While the Edmonton Oilers are in the middle of a rebuild, Connor McDavid is an excellent generational talent.  He can single-handedly win some games for the Oilers.  When the Capitals face the Oilers this season, they will be under a new direction led by new GM Ken Holland and new Head Coach Dave Tippett.  Holland is a proven winner, as he served many years as the GM with the Detroit Red Wings.  Tippett is also a proven NHL coach, as he has coached in over 1,100 NHL games.

Like the Oilers, the Canucks are still rebuilding and continue to add younger players to their lineup.  The Canucks were led by Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson a season ago.  Pettersson racked up 28 goals and 66 points in his stellar rookie campaign.

TOUGH EASTERN CONFERENCE COMPETITION

While the Capitals will see the Western Conference more in October, they will get a heavy dosage of Metropolitan Division foes in the opening week.  The Capitals will see the Islanders on October 4 at the Nassau Coliseum, and will open their home slate with the Carolina Hurricanes on October 5.

The Capitals will see the Toronto Maple Leafs twice in October.  The Leafs finished third in the Atlantic Division a season ago.  It is possible that the Capitals could catch the Leafs at the right time, as Mitch Marner continues his contract holdout with the Leafs.  Marner finished with 26 goals and 94 points a season ago.  If Marner continues his holdout into the regular season, the Capitals could benefit from his absence.

By: George Foussekis

About George Foussekis

I am a sports fanatic. I love hockey and football, and I enjoy writing about my two favorite sports. I am a proud Old Dominion University alum.
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6 Responses to Start Fast Or Lose Ground Quickly: The Capitals Need to Have a Strong October in 2019

  1. Anonymous says:

    Caps always seem to have the ship righted by the unofficial “Thanksgiving playoff marker” the historic quarter pole in the nhl there about historically that has shown if you are not in the playoffs you wont get in. But with teams like Pit&Caps bc they have all time great players& weve seen multiple times Pit look dead in 1st half of season and find a way into 3rd place or 2nd place in metro by seasons end. So aslong as Caps are above .500 by Turkey Day theyll be fine, which Im more then certain theyll likely be in a playoff spot

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Anonymous says:

    Feel the same way. .500 in October will be a good mark, be in the hunt at the all-star break. Get hot in April.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Day One Caps Fan says:

    A quick modification:

    Start Fast Or Lose Ground Quickly: The Capitals Need to Have a Strong October in 2019
    Start Fast Or Replace the Coaching Staff: The Capitals Need to Have a strong first 20 games

    It’s all on the Reirden Administration

    Like

    • jimallcaps says:

      TR finished just about where the Caps finished last year in the regular season, so the regular season was ok. The bottom six was not where anyone would like it to have been, so it is getting rebuilt, except for the centers, from before last year’s trade deadline. The Caps should have beaten the Canes, but it was a magical run for the Canes that will not be repeated. The Caps, if they have their full roster and have gelled should be in good shape. If TR and the coaching staff have lost the lockerroom, we will know by Xmas or the All-Star break. I want to see what TR and staff do this year before I want him gone because it will most likely be a lost season then (I know that St. Louis and Chicago flipped the script, but that’s rare).

      Like

  4. jimallcaps says:

    As some other sage posters have pointed out, a decent start to October is fine as the coaching staff will be working with 4-5 new players on the bottom 6 and 2-3 relatively new defenders. If the team is in playoff contention between Thanksgiving and Xmas, they should be fine. Peaking too early (Buffalo and Tampa last year) means nothing. Peaking late means a ton (St. Louis, Boston, Carolina last year). In the post dynasty era (salary cap era) very few teams have looked great early and gone on to do well in the real season after the 82 game qualifying season. Hockey is not like basketball or football in which the entire year means a lot. In hockey, it’s really more on the last 20 or so games and playing playoff hockey properly (no pond hockey teams).

    Like

  5. Pingback: Capitals’ Lars Eller Holds “Hockey Stars ’19” Charity Tournament in Rødovre, Denmark | NoVa Caps

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