Capitals start 2024 with two games that could determine season

New year, another back to back for the Washington Capitals as they begin the 2024 part of the schedule with two national televised games that will feel like the playoffs
Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals open 2024 with two games that could determine the course of their entire season. And of course it's a back to back.

Today we enjoy the NHL Winter Classic between the Seattle Kraken and the Vegas Golden Knights where hockey's newest fans get their first taste of outdoor action in Seattle.

The next two days it's ALL CAPS as they're on Hulu and ESPN plus on Tuesday and TNT on Wednesday. Tuesday is a road game with the Pittsburgh Penguins. On Wednesday they're back at Capital One Arena as the Caps host the New Jersey Devils.

The Penguins last played the Caps on opening night where they won 4-0. Since then their pace has been similar to the Capitals but after the break they've been on an opposite direction as they've won three striaght. Both teams have 40 points.

The Caps also have 40 points with the Devils. Unlike the Penguins, the Caps played much better against the Devils this season but have played against them more. It was a late October game in New Jersey that turned the Caps season around.

The Caps also took care of the Devils in the middle of what was their best month in quite some time. A month of November that saw them go 8-2-1.

Here's where things got dicey and made thing where they are right now. In December the Caps went 5-6-3. In that month it included three straight losses to start, two straight in the middle then after a three game winning streak went on to drop four in a row.

The Caps offense of course is not as good as the two teams they're facing either. It's once again due to injuries and age catching up to them even worse.

Caps are 31st in the NHL in goals scored with 78. The Penguins are in the bottom half too but still have 105. The Devils are ranked ninth with 121. The fact the Caps aren't in triple digits compared to the other two is scary.

But the Caps success has come from likley heroes like Dylan Strome and Charlie Lindgren and unlikley heroes like Anthony Mantha. While the Caps aren't the best goal scoring team, they're still in a better spot than we thought they'd be in at this point.