Every year, coaches and players mentally highlight a handful of games on the regular-season schedule that they see as critical tilts, despite knowing that these select games are each worth two points just like any other.
Sometimes it's due to a bitter rivalry created due to geographic proximity or postseason history, such as the long-standing distaste the Capitals and Penguins hold for one another. In other cases, if a beloved player has recently departed one team for another via free agency or trade, both sides are typically gunning to prove that they got the better end of the bargain.
Regardless of the reason, there's no shortage of must-see clashes on tap for the Capitals in 2014-15, so here's an early look at the games that have to be circled on every team schedule in Washington.
For a full look at Washington's 2014-15 schedule, head to the team's official website.