Washington Capitals: Breaking down the toughest opponents in 2019

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 30: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his 50th goal of the season with teammates and against goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on March 30, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 30: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his 50th goal of the season with teammates and against goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on March 30, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ – MARCH 19: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) skates during the third period of the National Hockey League Game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals on March 19, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ – MARCH 19: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) skates during the third period of the National Hockey League Game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals on March 19, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Washington sees them: Dec. 20, Jan. 11, 16, Feb. 22

The new-look Metropolitan Division boasts a revamp of some old foes that look to get back to the playoffs and beyond. The New Jersey Devils made it to the playoffs fresh after the draft selection of top pick Nico Hischier in the spring of 2018 before a significant drop-off year in 2018-19. Now they’re one of the divisional foes the Capitals need to keep an extra eye on this season.

Even though their season was a disappointment, the Devils still won the lottery and used that pick to select Jack Hughes.

They also traded for P.K. Subban and signed Wayne Simmonds. Those two, along with a returning cast featuring Taylor Hall will give teams like the Penguins, Capitals and Hurricanes a run for their money.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 08: Lars Eller #20 of the Washington Capitals skates with the puck against Egor Yakovlev #74 of the New Jersey Devils in the first period at Capital One Arena on March 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 08: Lars Eller #20 of the Washington Capitals skates with the puck against Egor Yakovlev #74 of the New Jersey Devils in the first period at Capital One Arena on March 8, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Capitals won three of the four meetings with the Devils last season but expect things to be more evenly matched. It will be a mix of veterans and youth and it’ll be those matchups with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom that’ll make these metro division games fun.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 06: Slapshot of the Washington Capitals and NJ Devil of the New Jersey Devils attend the NHL Hockey On The Hill Demostration in the Rayburn Foyer at Rayburn House Office Building on February 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 06: Slapshot of the Washington Capitals and NJ Devil of the New Jersey Devils attend the NHL Hockey On The Hill Demostration in the Rayburn Foyer at Rayburn House Office Building on February 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The first meeting takes place in New Jersey just days before Christmas while the Devils come to Washington twice in the span of under a week in January.