With training camp for the 2022-23 NHL season starting in under two months and the regular-season shortly after, NoVa Caps asked fans which Washington Capitals games they are most looking forward to for the upcoming campaign.
We wanted to get a sense of which Capitals home games fans were most anticipating during the upcoming 2022-23 season. We reached out to everyone across all of our social media channels (nearly 100,000 followers) and asked “what are the three games you would like to attend this season?.” Here are the results of the top 12.
12. Detroit Red Wings – Monday 12/19 (7 PM ET), Carolina Hurricanes – Tuesday 2/14 (7 PM ET)
2018 Stanley Cup Champion left-wing Jakub Vrana and left-wing Anthony Mantha are expected to face off in Washington for the first time since the two were traded for each other on April 12, 2021. Vrana missed the Red Wings’ lone visit to the District last season after he underwent shoulder surgery.
In addition, the Red Wings are expected to be much improved this season after adding goaltender Villie Husso, left-wing David Perron, defenseman Ben Chiarot, center Andrew Copp, and left-wing Dominik Kubalik over the offseason.
The Red Wings also feature the reigning Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s rookie of the year in defenseman Moritz Seider.
The Capitals and Red Wings will play in Detroit on November 3 (7:30 PM ET) and again in Washington on Tuesday, February 21 (7 PM ET).
As for the Hurricanes, arguably the favorite to win the Metropolitan Division and perhaps even the Presidents’ Trophy comes to town for the lone time this regular season. Some fireworks between the two teams have come up in the last few campaigns dating back to their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series in 2019.
The two will faceoff outdoors at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh for the 2022 NHL Stadium Series five days later (8 PM ET).
11. New York Rangers – Sunday 4/2 (1 PM ET)
The Rangers, who went to the Eastern Conference Final last season, visit town for the final time in 2022-23. Less than two weeks in the regular season will be left by this time and the Capitals and Rangers could be competing for postseason seeding, so expect this to be a big game.
Reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goaltender that season in Igor Shesterkin and defending two-time Norris Trophy nominee as the league’s best defenseman from that campaign in Adam Fox (who won it in 2021) will also likely be featured in this matchup.
The Rangers also come to Washington on Saturday, February 25 (3 PM ET).
10. New Jersey Devils – Thursday 4/13 (7 PM ET), Philadelphia Flyers – Wednesday 11/23 (7 PM ET)
Former Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek, ex-Washington defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler, and the Devils will visit Capital One Arena on the last day of the regular season, meaning that the teams could be looking to secure their spot or positioning in the postseason. The Devils also come to DC on Thursday on Thursday, March 9 (7 PM ET).
The Flyers will be the Capitals’ opponent for their annual Thanksgiving eve game.
8. Edmonton Oilers – Monday 11/7 (8 PM ET), Seattle Kraken – Friday 12/9 (7 PM ET)
Reigning Art Ross Trophy winner as the NHL’s leading scorer in center Connor McDavid and the Oilers will come to Capital One Arena for the only time this regular-season. Edmonton also features center Leon Draisaitl, who ranked second in the NHL with 55 goals and fourth with 110 points last season. The team went to the Western Conference Final last season.
Regarding the Kraken, 2018 Stanley Cup Champion goaltender Philipp Grubauer and left-wing Andre Burakovsky could play their first game at Capital One Arena as a member of Seattle. Burakovsky became the first 2018 champion to win it again with the Colorado Avalanche last season. Grubauer was the back-up when the Kraken visited Washington in 2021-22. In addition, defenseman Justin Schultz will also come to the nation’s capital for the first time as a visitor since signing with Seattle earlier this month.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs – Saturday 12/17 (7 PM ET)
Defending Maurice Richard Trophy winner and NHL MVP Auston Matthews, who became the first player in the league to score 60 goals in a season in a decade last year, takes his Maple Leafs to Capital One Arena for their lone visit to Washington for the final Hockey Night in Canada before the league’s holiday break.
Former Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov will return to Washington for the first time as a visitor after spending three seasons with the team and being let go over the offseason.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning – Friday 11/11 (7 PM ET)
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and the three-time defending Eastern Conference Champions, who repeated as Stanley Cup winners from 2020-21, will play their only game at Capital One Arena during the regular-season.
This will be the first game of a home-and-home between the two teams as they will play in Tampa two nights later.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins – Wednesday 11/9 (7:30 PM ET)
The Capitals’ arch rivals play their first game of the season in Washington. Whenever captains Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby faceoff against one another, it is always must-see TV.
3. Avalanche – Saturday 11/19 (7 PM ET)
Defenseman Cale Makar, center Nathan MacKinnon, and the defending Stanley Cup Champions will make their lone trip to the nation’s capital during the regular-season just prior to Thanksgiving.
This game is expected to be Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s first game against his former club since backstopping them to the Stanley Cup and signing with Washington as an unrestricted free agent on July 13.
2. Penguins – Thursday 1/26 (7 PM ET)
The Penguins will visit the District for the final time during the regular season in the Capitals’ final home game before the 2023 NHL All-Star Break.
1. Boston Bruins – Wednesday 10/12 (7 PM ET)
This will be the Capitals’ first game and the rival Bruins’ only visit to Washington for the 2021-22 season.
Harrison’s Additional Notable Home Games
St. Louis Blues – Friday 3/17 (7 PM ET)
The deep and skilled Blues, led by right-wing Vladimir Tarasenko, left-wing Pavel Buchnevich, and center Robert Thomas, come to Washington for the only time this season on St. Patrick’s Day.
Nashville Predators – Friday 1/6 (7 PM ET)
Defenseman Roman Josi, right-wing Filip Forsberg, goaltender Jusse Saros, and the Predators will visit Washington for the only time of the season. They have improved this offseason with the additions of right-wing Nino Neidereitter and defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
Minnesota Wild – Tuesday 1/17 (7 PM ET)
Left-wing Kirill Kaprizov, who pulled off Ovechkin’s stunt from the 2008 NHL All-Star SuperSkills competition at the 2022 event, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury lead the Wild into the District for their lone visit of the season.
Florida Panthers – Saturday 4/8 (7 PM ET)
The reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners will come to town in the final week of the regular season. The Panthers, who are led by left-wing Jonathan Huberdeau, eliminated the Capitals in the first-round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Florida also visits town on Thursday, February 16 (7 PM ET).
Notable Road Games
Hurricanes – Saturday 2/18 (8 PM ET)
The Capitals and Hurricanes will take it outside for the 2022 NHL Stadium Series at Carter-Finley Stadium, where the NC State Wolfpack plays football.
Avalanche – Tuesday 1/24 (9 PM ET)
Kuemper will lead the Capitals into Ball Arena for the first time as a visitor since winning the Stanley Cup with Colorado last season.
Panthers – Tuesday 11/15 (7 PM ET)
The Capitals and Panthers meet for the first time since the Panthers eliminated the Capitals in the first-round last season.
Vegas Golden Knights – Saturday 1/21 (10 PM ET)
The Capitals return to T-Mobile Arena for the fourth time since winning the Stanley Cup there on June 7, 2018.
Maple Leafs – Thursday 10/14 (7:30 PM ET)
The Capitals will take on Samsonov and the Maple Leafs for the first time in Toronto’s opening night and the Capitals’ first road game of the year.
Kraken – Thursday 12/1 (10 PM ET)
Burakovsky, Grubauer, and the Kraken will host the Capitals for the first meeting of the season between the two teams at Climate Pledge Arena.
Penguins – Saturday 3/26 (8 PM ET)
The Capitals will make their lone visit to Pittsburgh this season for a Saturday night prime time matchup with less than three weeks to go in the regular season. The two teams will likely be jockeying for postseason positioning.
Other games that got a vote that were surprising included the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, and San Jose Sharks’ (though, that is Capitals’ annual Super Bowl Sunday tilt) visits to Capital One Arena this season.
By Harrison Brown