Winter Classic 2015: Best Matchups for Caps in Outdoor Clash

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIISeptember 20, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 01:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals walks off the ice after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 during the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals have been awarded the 2015 Winter Classic, according to Kevin Allen of USA Today. 

The venue and opponent have not been announced, although it will likely be at Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play, or FedEx Field, where the Washington Redskins play.

The opponent won't be announced for some time, but Tim Panaccio of Comcast Sports reports that there are two favorites:

Both the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers would be excellent choices, although there may be better options out there, both for the on-ice product and for the all-important ratings.

Which teams are the best matchups for the Caps? Read on to find out.


New York Rangers

May 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) shakes hands with Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) after game seven of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center. The Rangers won 5-0 an
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers and Capitals have a budding rivalry after some intense postseason battles.

The two teams have met in the playoffs the past two years, and both series have gone seven games, with the Rangers winning both. 

In last year's matchup, things got heated, and it reached an apex after Game 6 when the two teams brawled:

Beyond the intensity of the matchup, the two teams feature some of the best players in the world. The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash, and the Caps have Alexander Ovechkin. 

The meeting wouldn't be short on star power, and it would bring in big ratings. Two of the biggest markets with two of the biggest players is a winning formula for the league.


Boston Bruins

Sep 17, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Washington Capitals forward Troy Brouwer (20) shoots the puck in front of Boston Bruins forward Justin Florek (57) at 1st Mariner Arena. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Of the two teams that Panaccio mentioned, the Bruins are the best option. They are coming off of a Stanley Cup Final appearance and have some of the biggest names in the game, like Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron on their team. 

In addition, there is a really good chance that the Bruins will be the best team in the Eastern Conference. The additions of Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson should really balance out the offense, and a full season of Torey Krug, who was a revelation for the B's in the postseason, will take the defensive load off of Chara. 

The Caps and Bruins also have history together. In 2012, the Caps beat the Bruins in overtime in Game 7 of the first round, a huge upset considering the Caps were the seventh seed.

This matchup would bring back old blood, as well as feature some really great hockey. 


Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT - OCTOBER 10:  Mike Green #52 of the Washington Capitals defends against Todd Bertuzzi #44 of the Detroit Red Wings on October 10, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings are moving into the Eastern Conference, and they are filled with stars who would shine on the bright stage.

Detroit made a splash this offseason, signing Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson. That will instantly upgrade an already good roster, led by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, and the Red Wings are definite contenders for the Stanley Cup, both this year and next.

Datsyuk, one of the best Russian players, is a star who often gets overlooked. In reality, he's a magical player who scored 15 goals and had 34 assists. He's a wizard with the puck and deserves to have his star noticed.

Jimmy Howard is also one of the better young goaltenders, and he could make life tough for Ovechkin and Co. It would be a good matchup and give some of the Red Wings a chance to shine.