How Washington Capitals Will Match Up with Each New Division Opponent

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How Washington Capitals Will Match Up with Each New Division Opponent
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

For the Washington Capitals, the 2013-14 season will see the Caps, in many respects, return to their roots.

The Southeast Division is no more. For the Caps, making the playoffs has been easy the past six seasons as they have just mauled the other teams in the now-defunct division.

Those days are now over. Instead of bludgeoning the Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers  for the 2013-14 season, the Caps will have to contend with new divisional rivals who will present a much more formidable challenge.

For all intents and purposes, the old Patrick Division has been resurrected. The Hurricanes will join the Caps in the new division, and so will the Columbus Blue JacketsNew York Rangers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils next season.

All of these teams are good. The Islanders played the Penguins very tough in the playoffs and the Rangers eliminated the Caps in seven games. The Pens seemed unstoppable until the Boston Bruins pulled off a stunning sweep of Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Final.

The Blue Jackets barely missed the playoffs this past season while the Flyers, Devils and Hurricanes will all likely improve in 2013-14, after having an off-year during the past lockout-shortened campaign.

Whatever this division is ultimately named, it is almost an exact replica of the old Patrick Division that existed up until the 1993-94 season. Those who do have a long memory will recall the wars involved in determining the Patrick Division champion way back when.

This past season, the Caps went 8-10-2 against their new divisional opponents—and they did not play the Blue Jackets at all.

Compare that to the Caps record of 15-3-0 against the Southeast Division in 2013 and the quandary becomes apparent.

Obviously, the key to the Caps' success in 2013-14 will hinge on how well they play against their new divisional foes.

This article will explore how the Caps match up against their seven new—yet very familiar—foes.

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