Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Caps entered the season with expectations to be one of the best teams in the league once again. Their first game of the season was on the road against the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Thrashers entered the season without winning a single game during the preseason. The Thrashers were riding an eight game losing streak against the Capitals. The Thrashers have a new head coach, Craig Ramsey, who has had just two previous unsuccessful head coaching stints in the NHL, in Buffalo and Philadelphia, which were long ago. To rub salt in the wound, the Thrashers had to put tarps over seats in the arena to make it appear full, on opening night, they were about 3,000 people under capacity.
The Thrashers would overcome all that, and the horrific accident of starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec collapsing on the ice just two and a half minutes into the game, and beat the Capitals 4-2.
It may only be one game, but in order to assert yourself as a legitimate contender, you must win the games that you are supposed to win. Whether it's at home or on the road you must beat the teams you are supposed to beat. During the grind of the season, players become tired and everyone drops winnable games here and there. But this was opening night, tiredness cannot be an excuse for the Caps to be blowing easy games.
It may be early, but the early signs are that the Caps could struggle on the road, if they can't beat the teams that they should be beating, especially when the opposing team can't even fill up their own house.