NHL releases 2021 schedule, Capitals open Jan. 14 in Buffalo


The 2021 NHL schedule was released on Wednesday giving us all a look at how the new divisional, 56-game shortened schedule will look.

Here are some key dates for the Capitals: 

Jan. 14: Opening game at Buffalo

Jan. 17: First game against Pittsburgh

Jan. 22: Home opener against Buffalo

Jan. 26: First game against Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders

April 11: Home against Boston, the last game before the April 12 trade deadline

May 8: Last game of the regular season at home against Philadelphia

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As previously thought, the schedule groups games against the same teams in mini-series to reduce travel. Instead of three or four games at a time, however, it will be two-game series.

"The back-to-back, more like baseball, where you are playing the same team twice in a row I think it is going to be different," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said on a video conference Wednesday. "You are going to do a lot of prep and then going to have a very good knowledge of where that team is at after you play that first game."

The schedule is certainly condensed, but not as much as we thought. That's good news considering how much the Caps may have to lean on goalie Ilya Samsonov.

"I think back-to-backs with no travel is probably going to be a little bit better," MacLellan said. "The fatigue shouldn’t be as much with some of the travel we do. The routines are going to change here. It is going to be like somewhat in the bubble where you are going to be secluded and not active when you are not around the rink so it is going to be a challenge mentally to get through that and go into the games mentally prepared.”