Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
With the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points, NoVa Caps looks at each team’s schedule the rest of the way. The Penguins have one game in hand on the Capitals and will play that game on Saturday, February 29 at the San Jose Sharks.
After both teams play at 1 PM ET on Saturday, the two will head to Washington for their second meeting of the season on Sunday afternoon. They will also clash in the Steel City on Saturday, March 7 at 1 PM ET and Sunday, March 22 at 12 PM ET.
After this Sunday’s matchup, both teams will head out West for a road trip. Before their road trip, the Capitals will play one more home game, on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets. The Penguins will travel to California for three games in four nights, including a back-to-back set against the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks next weekend. The Capitals will visit the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild.
The Capitals have eight games left against Metropolitan Division opponents while the Penguins have 15. The Capitals have 10 games left against teams that currently occupy a spot in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and four back-to-back contests. The Penguins have nine games left against teams currently occupying a Stanley Cup Playoff spot and six back-to-back games.
Overall, the Penguins’ opponents have an average points percentage of .547, and 13 of their final 23 games will be on the road, which is good news for the Capitals considering that Pittsburgh is a league-best 22-5-4 at home this season.
After the Capitals and Penguins’ final meeting of the regular season in Pittsburgh, the Capitals will play four of their final seven at home, with a road trip against the Red Wings and Sabres during the last weekend of March and an end-of-season matchup against the Florida Panthers. The Capitals have two games left against Detroit and Buffalo. The Capitals will have two two-game homestands during the final two weeks of the regular season.
While they see bottom dwellers like the Red Wings and Senators, the Capitals’ schedule during the final two weeks are not easy as they host the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues, the Toronto Maple Leafs (on the second of a back-to-back), and the Wild. Toronto and Minnesota are likely to be fighting to make the postseason.
Overall, the Capitals’ remaining opponents have an average points percentage of .541 and they have nine contests against the bottom-10 teams in terms of points percentage. The Capitals’ final 22 games are split evenly between home and road matches. Their 21-8-2 road record is the best in the NHL this season.
Barring a long losing streak from one of the teams, the race for the Metropolitan Divison crown will likely be down to the wire and could be determined by the three head-to-head matchups between the two teams. The Capitals need to start playing at the top of their game again as they are 3-6-1 in their last 10 and 11-11-1 since their season-long six-game winning streak. The Penguins are 20-6-2 in their past 28. However, grinding until the final days of the regular season may be good preparation for another Stanley Cup run.
Here are each team’s remaining schedules:
By Harrison Brown