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Capitals to play Maple Leafs in outdoor game at Naval Academy next season

The NHL officially announced Monday that the Washington Capitals will host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2018 NHL Stadium Series on March 3, 2018, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.

“We look forward to welcoming the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fans to beautiful Annapolis next March for the first-ever outdoor hockey game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in a release. “Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will be a unique and historic setting for fans from all across our region to experience what promises to be a great hockey game. We are honored to have the opportunity to play at one of the very best institutions our region, and our country, have to offer: the United States Naval Academy.”

The matchup will be a rematch of the first round of the playoffs, a series that the Capitals won in six games.

The game will take place in the stadium where the football team plays; the venue has a capacity of 34,000. That would make for a relatively small venue for an outdoor game, but the NHL recently held one at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, and that facility’s reported capacity is 33,234.

The Capitals have played in two outdoor games since 2011, winning both. The most recent was the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park, when Washington hosted the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Capitals have finished with the league’s best regular season record two years in a row. Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan is scheduled to meet with reporters Tuesday for his first media availability since Washington’s season ended this month in the second round of the playoffs.

The league announced earlier this month that the 2018 Winter Classic would be played between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres at Citi Field.