Capitals have difficult season ahead
With single-game tickets now on sale, CSNWashington.com is counting down the top 10 must-see Capitals games in 2013-14 (the countdown includes both home and away games).
As colleague Brian McNally noted earlier this month, the Capitals will host and visit every NHL team at least once for the first time since 1997-98.
Below is a look at the countdown so far:
GAME #5: MARCH 2, 2014 CAPITALS VS, PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
After a nearly three week break during the Olympics, the Capitals will be plenty busy when the NHL resumes in late February. From Feb. 27 – March 2, the Capitals will play three games in three cities in four days.
The Capitals return from the Olympic break with a two-game road trip in Florida (Feb. 27) and Boston (March 1) before hosting the Flyers at Verizon Center for a nationally televised Sunday matinee. In other words, the March 2nd matchup against the Flyers will be the Caps’ first home game in more than three weeks.
The Capitals won’t be able to get too comfortable in the District though, as the matchup against the Flyers is the front end of a home-and-home series. The teams will meet three nights later in Philadelphia for the fifth of five meetings next season.
The Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes are the only two teams that Capitals will face as many as five times during the regular season next year and thanks to conference realignment, the Capitals and Flyers will compete in the same division for the first time since 1997-98.
NEW LOOKED FLYERS:
The Flyers missed the playoffs last season for just the second time in 19 years but a busy offseason could go a long way in returning postseason hockey to Philadelphia.
While the Flyers bought out the final seven years of disgruntled goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract, they did sign former Blackhawks backup Ray Emery who was an impressive 17-1-0 with Chicago last season with a 1.94 goals-against-average and .922 save percentage.
Philadelphia also made a splash with the signings of defenseman Mark Streit (4-years, $21M) and center Vincent Lecavalier (5-years, $22.5M).
The Flyers could be one of the NHL’s stronger teams down the middle with centers Claude Giroux, Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier providing the team with considerable depth and a mix of youth and experience.
Lecavalier has plenty of experience facing the Capitals and his 34 career goals against Washington are his highest total against any NHL team.
TRADE DEADLINE APPROACHING:
The March 2nd home date with the Flyers is also worth highlighting as it may be Washington’s final evaluation before the 2014 Trade Deadline.
The Capitals have shown a knack over the years for making moves before the stretch run and while the NHL has yet to announce the date of next year’s Trade Deadline, the first Monday or Tuesday of March could be the date to circle based on reason seasons.