The Washington Capitals open up their 2017-18 season, their 43 rd NHL season, tonight in Ottawa against the Senators. This marks the first time the Caps have ever opened the season against their nation’s capital brethren from the north, and the first time they’ve opened a campaign in Canada since 1997-98 when they opened with a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
Tonights season opener starts a stretch in which Washington will play six games in 10 nights to kick off the season, with four of those six games to be played on the road. Along with four of their first six on the road, you can extend the outlook on the season by seeing the Caps play eight of their first twelve on the road. That stretch is one of the longest in franchise history.
Tonight on the blueline are veterans Taylor Chorney and Aaron Ness, both of whom are in the lineup for the season opener for the first time at the NHL level.
Up front on the forward lines, the new faces include Alex Chiasson (free agent, Calgary last season), Tyler Graovac (trade from Minnesota) and Devante Smith-Pelly (free agent, New Jersey last season) along with Brett Connolly and youngster Jakub Vrana. Connolly was on the roster for last season’s Washington Capitals opener, but not in the lineup. Vrana played 21 games with Washington as a rookie last season, but wasn’t recalled from AHL Hershey until early December.
Forwards for tonight’s game
8-Ovechkin, 92-Kuznetsov, 13-Vrana
65-Burakovsky, 19-Backstrom, 77-Oshie
10-Connolly, 20-Eller, 39-Chiasson
91-Graovac, 83-Beagle, 25-Smith-Pelly
Defensemen for tonight’s game
Your starting goaltender
Game stat: Alex Ovechkin has 40 points in 40 career games vs the Ottawa Senators (23 G, 17 A).