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 last week, 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 #9: FEBRUARY 8, 2014 CAPITALS VS. NEW JERSEY DEVILS
The Capitals and Devils will compete in the same division next season for the first time since 1998 and the teams will meet four times during the regular season.
The Feb. 8 matchup at Verizon Center will be the Devils’ second of two trips to D.C. and it could be the final game ever played in the District for a pair of future Hall of Famers.
LAST HURRAH PART I?
Martin Brodeur (39-17-4 lifetime against the Capitals) has been the face of the Devils’ franchise for two decades but the NHL’s all-time wins leader could soon be exiting stage left.
The once indestructible Brodeur was sidelined for more than a month last season with a pinched nerve in his upper back and neck and the 41-year-old is expected to split time in goal next season with former Vancouver Canucks goalie Corey Schneider.
Capitals coach Adam Oates was an assistant coach in New Jersey from 2010-12 and continued to praise Brodeur last year in Washington.
“He’s a very smart guy,” Oates said last season. “He knows his position, he knows all the positions. He knows the game. And you see it in all sorts of times where you’re like ‘Oh, yeah. He actually does know stuff. It’s just kind of his personality- he’s a little casual so you kind of forget that. But I would say, for me, the calmness he brought every single day was important to the team and his IQ.”
LAST HURRAH PART II?
While Brodeur has earned praise from the Capitals organization over the years, the same cannot be said of Brodeur’s soon-to-be teammate Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr, also 41, is now on his seventh NHL team having signed a one-year deal with New Jersey last month. While his tenure with the Capitals from 2001-04 fell well below expectations, it’s hard to argue against his Hall of Fame credentials.
Like Brodeur, this may also be Jagr’s final NHL season in which case the Devils’ Feb.8 visit to Verizon Center may be Jagr’s last as a visiting player in D.C.
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It’s also worth noting that the Capitals-Devils Feb. 8 meeting at Verizon Center will be the final game for both teams before the NHL shuts down for the Olympics.
With the exception of the AHL Showcase on Feb. 23 (Hershey Bears vs. Syracuse Crunch), hockey fans in the DMV will go more than three weeks between live professional games at Verizon Center.
After the Feb. 8 meeting with the Devils, the Capitals don’t play in Chinatown again until March 2.