Report: Washington to open on Jan. 19 in Tampa Bay

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Adam Oates will make his Capitals coaching debut on the road.

Oates and the Capitals will reportedly play in Tampa Bay when the NHL season kicks off on Jan. 19, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The matchup keeps with the “rivalry” theme of opening day/night. These Southeast Division foes have established a healthy feud over the last few years, one that reached its apex when the Lightning swept the Caps out of the 2011 playoffs.

Washington has undergone a series of changes since then, many of them occurring this offseason. Oates was brought in to replace former head coach Dale Hunter and at forward, Alex Semin and Mike Knuble were replaced by Mike Ribeiro and Wojtek Wolski.

Bolts sniper Steve Stamkos was excited to learn he and his teammates would be opening against Washington.

“That will be great,” he said. “It’s a great test for us. It’s a team we’re going to have to battle with if we’re going to make the playoffs. We might as well get them in front of our home fans.”

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