Capitals announce truncated 2013 schedule

Loose Pucks,Sports,Brian McNally

The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association completed a memo of understanding on Saturday night, which officially ends its lockout and allows training camps to open on Sunday.

Owners voted to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday. The NHLPA’s membership also accepted the new CBA in voting that concluded Saturday morning and was announced later in the afternoon. Later Saturday the league released its schedule for a 48-game season that begins next Saturday.

The Capitals will open on the road against the Tampa Bay Lightning next Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. They then return home after the Inauguration for three consecutive games on Jan. 22 (Winnipeg Jets), Jan. 24 (Montreal Canadiens) and Jan. 27 (Buffalo Sabres), a 3 p.m. Here is the full schedule with key dates released by the team.

Washington faces the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators three times each – but only once each at Verizon Center. The Caps also play the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres three times each – two games against all of those opponents in the District.

In the Southeast Division, the Caps will see the Jets and Carolina Hurricanes five times. Three of the games vs. Carolina – the preseason favorite in the Southeast Division – are at Verizon Center. To limit travel to Winnipeg, where Washington plays three times, there is a rare back-to-back set in Manitoba on March 21 and 22. One trip, two games. Meanwhile, the Caps split four games with the Lightning and Florida Panthers. There are seven afternoon games on the schedule total, four of them at home.

Mark your calendar for yet another nationally televised Super Bowl Sunday game at Verizon Center – this time featuring the Penguins and star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Last time we saw that crew on that day the teams staged an epic regular-season contest two days after a blizzard crippled the Washington area. The Caps rallied from a 4-1 deficit to win 5-4 in overtime. It is the fourth year in a row Washington will play an afternoon game on Super Bowl Sunday.

Ten of the Caps’ 24 home games are slated for a Friday (1), Saturday (4) or Sunday (5). They end the season with a three-game homestand (Winnipeg, Ottawa, Boston). That final game against the Bruins is scheduled for April 27.

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