Caps ready to create new Eastern rivals

Caps ready to create new Eastern rivals
November 11, 2013, 3:00 pm
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Caps top 5 plays of the week: 11.11.13

Perhaps the two best things about the Capitals’ weekend visit to Phoenix and Colorado is that it’s over and they don’t have to go back.

The Caps came away with one of a possible four points and after arriving back in D.C. at around 4:30 a.m. on Monday they’ll need to adjust quickly before facing new Metropolitan Division rival Columbus on Tuesday.

Of their first 18 games, the Caps have faced Eastern Conference teams just six times and are 4-2 in those games. Their next two opponents, the Blue Jackets and Red Wings, are new to the Eastern Conference. 

The Blue Jackets reside in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division with a 6-10-0 record and 12 points, one more than the 5-10-1 Flyers. The Jackets are one of seven Eastern Conference teams with a sub-.500 record.

By comparison, only three teams in the West – Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton – have losing records.

Following Tuesday night's home game against Columbus the Caps will visit Detroit [9-5-4, 22 points] Friday night and return home to face the St. Louis Blues [11-2-2, 24 points] on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see if Caps coach Adam Oates re-configures his lineup after back-to-back losses to the Coyotes and Avalanche. The Caps have had the same line combinations and defense pairings for the past five games, but after two straight losses, forward Eric Fehr could find himself back on one of the top four lines on Tuesday.

Here’s a sneak peek at the depth chart of the Blue Jackets:

BLUE JACKETS

Forward Lines

Brandon Dubinsky – Ryan Johansen – Cam Atkinson

R.J. Umberger – Artem Anisimov – Marian Gaborik

Derek MacKenzie – Mark Letestu - BlakeComeau

Sean Collins – Michael Chaput – Jared Boll

Defense Pairings

Jack Johnson – Fedor Tyutin

Ryan Murray – James Wisniewski

Nikita Nikitin – Dalton Prout

Goaltenders

Sergei Bobrovsky – Curtis McElhinney