Realignment of the divisions has moved Pittsburgh out of Washington's Atlantic Division and has replaced the Penguins with the first-year Florida Panthers and the second-year Tampa Bay Lightning. This provides an opportunity for the Capitals to improve on last season's 13-22-2 record against division opponents. The Capitals were 1-5-1 against Patrick Division champion Pittsburgh last season.
This season, the Capitals open at Winnipeg on Oct. 6 and will face the New Jersey Devils in their home opener Oct. 8 at the USAir Arena (formerly Capital Centre).
The Panthers and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks will make their inaugural visits to Landover in December. The Panthers will play Dec. 28, followed by the Mighty Ducks on Dec. 30.
This season, each of the NHL's 26 teams will again play two neutral-site games.
Washington's neutral-site games are against two Atlantic Division rivals. The Capitals will play the Philadelphia Flyers in Cleveland on Feb. 2 and the New York Rangers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 9.