Caps fans eager to see the team take the ice in their new red, white and blue uniforms and with their new personnel for the 2007-08 season can mark off Oct. 5 on their calendars. That’s the date the Caps will open the ’07-08 campaign in Atlanta against the Thrashers. A night later Washington will host its home opener against another Southeast Division rival, the Carolina Hurricanes.
It is the first time the Caps have opened two consecutive seasons on the road since they did so for three straight campaigns beginning in 1992-93.
The Caps will open the season with games on back-to-back nights for the seventh time in their 33 seasons and the first time since 2002-03, which was Washington’s last season in the playoffs. The Capitals opened the season with contests on back-to-back nights four seasons in a row from 1988-89 through 1991-92. The Caps will play the Islanders in New York on Monday afternoon, Oct. 8, giving them three games in four days to start the season.
Carolina provides the opposition for the home opener for the second year in succession. For the second year in a row, Atlanta is the opponent for Washington’s traditional Thanksgiving Eve game (Nov. 21). Ottawa comes to the District for the Capitals’ traditional New Year’s Day matinee match. Washington will not host a game on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3) this season.
Nearly half (39 of 82) of Washington’s games this season are on the weekend. Five games are on Sunday (none before Jan. 13), 14 are on Friday and 20 are on Saturday. Five of the Friday games and nine of the Saturday games are home dates. (In a strange scheduling quirk, the Caps go seven straight Fridays without a game at home or on the road from Dec. 21 through Feb. 1.) All five of the Sunday games are at home, and those games feature two different start times. Three are at 3 p.m. and two are at 1 p.m.
Last season the Caps’ first Saturday night without a game on the schedule did not come until Feb. 17. It was one of only two Saturdays without games all season. In 2007-08 the Caps will not play on Saturday twice in November, twice in January, once in February and twice in March.
The Caps will close the season at home, playing a Saturday night tilt against Southeast Division-rival Florida on April 5. Washington plays the last three games of its schedule at home for the first time since 2002-03. Each of Washington’s final seven games of 2007-08 will be played against a Southeast Division opponent.
The Caps close out the month of March with a six-game road trip, the longest of the season. That journey opens with games on back-to-back nights in Nashville and Chicago, and concludes with visits to each of Washington’s four Southeast rival cities. The Capitals are slated to play 18 sets of games on back-to-back nights this season. Aside from the late-March road swing, Washington will not play more than three straight games away from Verizon Center this season.
There are three pairs of home-and-home dates, all against Canadian opponents. The Caps visit Ottawa on Dec. 29, and they return home to host the Sens at Verizon Center on Jan. 1. The Capitals visit Toronto on Jan. 23 and then come back to the District to host the Leafs the next evening. Washington travels to Montreal on Jan. 29 and hosts the Habs on Jan. 31.
The Capitals will enjoy four homestands of four or more games, including a season-long five-game homestand from Jan. 9-19.
Washington will play only three of its 82 games outside the Eastern Time Zone in 2007-08. The Caps travel to St. Louis on Oct. 27 and to Nashville on Mar. 18 and Chicago on Mar. 19.