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Caps face road tests

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The Washington Capitals will have a tough slog early in the 2008-2009 season, according to the team's full schedule released Thursday.

October and November may be the Caps' most grueling months of the year. Both months include long road trips to distant Western Conference foes.

The Caps will stay east for the first part of October before heading out for a three-game swing that includes an Oct. 21 game against the Calgary Flames, an Oct. 23 contest against the Phoenix Coyotes and an Oct. 25 game against the Dallas Stars.

Things get even rougher in November. The Caps start with road games against the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators, then start a five-game trip Nov. 15 that includes games at the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.

March is also a tough month for the Caps. They will play five road games between March 16 and March 24.

February is arguably the team's easiest month with just five road games, none farther away than Tampa, Fla.

The Caps will complete the season with three games on the road against the Southeast Conference rival Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. During that week, Verizon Center will host college hockey's Frozen Four. The team's final home game is April 5 against Atlanta.

The Caps open the season Oct. 10 at Atlanta and will play their home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 11.

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