The high-flying Carolina Hurricanes will host and participate in their first regular season outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium against the Washington Capitals on Sunday 19th February.
The Stadium Series which features teams from the United States playing outdoors in football or baseball stadiums was born in 2014 following the success of the NHL Winter Classic and NHL Heritage Classic and the 2023 event will be the 13th version.
This year's host, Carter-Finley Stadium, is home to the North Carolina State Wolfpack American football team and has a seating capacity of 56,919.
|What||Washington Capitals @ Carolina Hurricanes (Outdoor Stadium Series)|
|Where||Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C|
|When||01:00, Sunday 19th February|
|How to watch||NHL.com / Viaplay sports|
The proximity between the Capitals and Hurricanes always sets up well for a rivalry between the two but it was one that never really kindled until the two teams met in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2019.
The Hurricanes prevailed from the first round series in seven vicious games which saw Washington's T.J. Oshie suffer a broken collar bone following a questionable hit by Warren Foegele and Carolina's Andrei Svechnikov knocked out by Alexander Ovechkin in a fight.
Given what happened in the series and it going to double overtime in Game 7, the two teams have been rivals ever since and the NHL will now take advantage by featuring them in one of its annual showcase events.
The Capitals will travel to Carolina with the confidence of being undefeated in outdoor games, going a perfect 3-0-0 with wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in 2011, the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park in 2015 and the Maple Leafs at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in 2018.
The 2023 Stadium Series will be the Hurricanes' first outdoor game, making them the 28th NHL team to play in one. They do, however, have 11 players with outdoor experience with other teams including forward Derek Stepan who will make a third appearance in such an event.
While Washington have the superior experience outdoors, the Hurricanes will be more relaxed and able to enjoy the event easier as they sit comfortably at the top of the Metropolitan Division (34-9-8) while the Capitals (27-20-6) can't look past the importance of the points as they find themselves in a desperate fight for the playoffs.
Washington are fourth in the Metropolitan Division and, with 60 points from 53 games, hold the second Wild Card place into the postseason from the Eastern Conference. But, with just four points separating them and four other teams below them, a ninth straight playoff appearance is far from guaranteed.
With a four-point lead over New Jersey Devils at the top of the Metropolitan Division, the Hurricanes are 4/15 to win the divisional title and the Capitals are 5/6 to make the playoffs.
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The 2023 NHL Stadium Series will showcase several of the top players in the NHL. The Capitals are led by Captain, and second-leading all-time NHL goal-scorer, Alex Ovechkin, forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie, defenceman John Carlson and goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who won the Stanley Cup with Colorado Avalanche last season.
The Hurricanes boast the talents of Captain Jordan Staal, forwards Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov, defencemen Jaccob Slavin and Brent Burns and goaltender Frederik Andersen.
Behind the bench, Washington's Peter Laviolette was Carolina coach from 2003-09 and won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 when their now coach Rob Brind'Amour was captain.
58-year-old Laviolette was hired by the Capitals in 2020, while Brind'Amour has held the head coach role with the Hurricanes since 2018 and is the first coach in their history to lead them to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
Brind'Amour is 15/2 to lead Carolina to another Stanley Cup as coach this season and Laviolette is 40/1 to guide Washington to the championship which would be their second - the first coming in 2018.
The 2023 NHL Stadium Series will be the last of three meetings between the Capitals and the Hurricanes this season. The Hurricanes won the first meeting in late October 3-2 via a shoot-out and the pair will clash again ahead of the outdoor event at the Capital One Arena on 14th February.