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Vogel's Take: Caps Unveil 2017-18 Regular Season Schedule

Washington will open on the road and will visit two new NHL barns in 2017-18, its 43rd season in the circuit.

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / Monumental Sports Network

Washington opens up its 43rd season in the NHL on Thu. Oct. 5 in Ottawa when it makes the first of its two trips north to take on the Senators. Two nights later, the Caps will host the Montreal Canadiens in Washington's home opener at Verizon Center on Sat. Oct. 7.

Among the highlights of the Capitals' 2017-18 regular season slate is an outdoor game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Naval Academy in Annapolis on Sat. March 3. The contest will be the third outdoor game in which Washington has participated. 

The Caps' home schedule for the upcoming season also includes traditional home dates on the night before Thanksgiving (vs. Ottawa on Wed. Nov. 22), the afternoon after Thanksgiving (vs. Tampa Bay on Fri. Nov. 24 at 5 p.m.) and on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon (vs. Vegas on Sun. Feb. 4 at 12:30 p.m.). 

Washington's longest homestand of the season is a five-game Verizon Center run that stretches from Nov. 30 through Dec. 8. The Capitals are home for nine of 10 games from Nov. 18-Dec. 8, with their lone road game over that span in Toronto on Nov. 25. The Caps will be playing in Toronto on the Saturday following Thanksgiving for the fourth consecutive season.

Each of Washington's first three games of the '17-18 slate and six of the first nine games are against Atlantic Division opponents. One-third of the 24 games the Caps must play against Atlantic foes will be played in the first 16 games of the season.

Nearly half (19 of 41) of Washington's road schedule is made up of one-game trips. The Caps' longest road journey of the season is a four-game tour to Winnipeg, Minnesota, Chicago and Buffalo in mid-February. The Caps also play four consecutive road games in the latter half of December, but that group of games is sandwiched around the NHL's holiday break, so it will actually be comprised of two separate trips. 

Speaking of breaks, the Caps have a bunch of them early and none of them late in the upcoming season. They'll have a four-day break in late October, a three-day gap between games that bridges October and November, a four-day break in late November and the three-day holiday break in late December. 

Washington's five-day "bye week" comes in January, but that's not the only lengthy respite the Caps will have in the first month of 2018. After facing the Hurricanes in Carolina on Jan. 2 to start off the 2018 portion of the 2017-18 schedule, the Caps will have four days off. Then they'll play four games in six nights before having their bye week. Washington must play three games in four nights coming out of the bye week, and then it will have just one game in the next 10 games, a span that includes a five-day break for the NHL All-Star Game. 

So, in January, the Caps will have two five-day breaks, a four-day break and a three-day break. They'll also play three games in four nights with a set of back-to-back games immediately preceding their bye week, and they'll come out of the bye week with back-to-backs and three games in four nights.

Three of Washington's 10 games in January will be against Metropolitan Division rival Carolina. The Capitals will play 17 of their 28 games against Metro foes in the season's second half, highlighted by home-and-home sets with Carolina (Jan. 11-12), Columbus (Feb. 6 and 9), the New York Islanders (March 15-16) and the New York Rangers (March 26 and 28).

From the time the Caps come back to work after the All-Star break (on Jan. 31 against the Philadelphia Flyers at Verizon Center) until the end of the season, the Caps will not have more than two consecutive days off at any point. 

After starting the season in a more than leisurely pace with 50 games spread over the first 119 games of the season (a game every 2.38 days), the Caps will finish with 32 games in the final 65 nights of the 2017-18 campaign (a game every 2.03 days).

Washington will make its first ever visit to two new NHL venues this season. The Capitals will get their first look at Detroit's new building on Oct. 20 when they make the first of two trips to the Motor City this season. The Caps will visit Vegas for the first time and play the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 23.

Games by the Month 

October: 12 (four home, eight road)

November: 14 (nine home, five road)

December: 14 (eight home, six road)

January: 10 (six home, four road)

February: 14 (six home, eight road)

March: 14 (six home, eight road)

April: 4 (two home, two road) 

Games by the Day

Sunday: 8 (five home, three road)

Monday: 10 (four home, six road)

Tuesday: 13 (six home, seven road)

Wednesday: 6 (five home, one road)

Thursday: 16 (five home, 11 road)

Friday: 12 (seven home, five road)

Saturday: 17 (nine home, eight road)

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