The Capitals enter Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets having won a franchise-record ten straight home openers.
The Los Angeles Kings were the last team to spoil the Caps’ home opener when they earned a 4-1 win at the MCI Center on Oct. 6, 2000.
At the time, Bill Clinton was still in office, Michael Jordan had not yet come out of his second retirement and Norv Turner and the Redskins were on their way to a 6-2 start to the season.
Calle Johansson was Washington’s lone goal scorer that opening night, with Adam Oates and Jeff Halpern drawing the assists. Craig Billington started the Caps’ home opener and stopped 27 of 31 shots.
Johansson skated a game-high 24:57 while Oates led all forwards with 21:19 worth of ice-time. The Capitals would open the 2000-01 campaign on a six-game winless skid before rallying to win the Southeast Division with a 41-27-10-4 record.
Since then, the Caps have enjoyed ten straight home opening wins.
OCT. 6, 2001: CAPS 6 – DEVILS 1
The Jaromir Jagr era began with a blowout win over the defending Eastern Conference champion Devils as Jagr, Jeff Halpern and Sergei Gonchar had a goal and an assist each.
Ulf Dahlen (1G, 2A) and Adam Oates (3A) had three points each while Calle Johansson and Peter Bondra rounded out the goal scoring.
Olaf Kolzig stopped 37 of 38 shots in the win while Martin Brodeur was pulled after allowing five goals on 20 shots.
OCT. 11, 2002: CAPS 5 – PREDATORS 4
Bondra, Jagr and Kip Miller had three points each and Kolzig stopped 27 of 31 shots as they Capitals gave Bruce Cassidy a win in his NHL coaching debut.
OCT. 9, 2003: CAPS 6 – ISLANDERS 1
Bondra, Jagr, Halpern and Brian Willsie had two points each and Boyd Gordon recorded an assist in his first career NHL game as the Capitals routed the Islanders.
Kolzig stopped 17 of 18 shots, while Garth Snow allowed six goals on 26 shots before being replaced by Rick DiPietro came on in relief and stopped Washington’s final 11 shots of the contest.
OCT. 5, 2005: CAPS 3 – BLUE JACKETS 2
In the first NHL game at MCI Center in 550 days, Alex Ovechkin opened his NHL career with a bang, scoring twice and recording five shots on goal in the Washington win. Ovechkin’s NHL debut also included a bone-crunching hit on his very first shift that dislodged a support beam along the boards.
Halpern led the Caps with a game-high three assists, while Dainius Zubrus chipped in with a goal and an assist. Kolzig stopped 35 of 37 Columbus shots, while Pascal Leclaire allowed three goals on the 19 shots he faced.
OCT. 7, 2006: CAPS 5 – HURRICANES 2
Alexander Semin (three goals) and Ovechkin (two goals) combined for all of Washington’s scoring in the home opening win against Carolina. Chris Clark and Brian Pothier chipped in with three assists each, and Kolzig stopped 25 of 27 shots in the win.
OCT. 6, 2007: CAPS 2 – HURRICANES 0
Ovechkin and Milan Jurcina each scored and Kolzig stopped 23 shots in earning the 35th and final shutout of his NHL career.
Ovechkin’s goal was the 200th point of his NHL career, while Nicklas Backstrom’s assist on Jurcina’s tally was his the first point of his NHL career.
OCT. 11, 2008: CAPS 4 – BLACKHAWKS 2
The Chicago Blackhawks opened the scoring just 26 seconds into the game, but newcomer Jose Theodore was sharp the rest of the way in earning his first home victory with the Capitals.
Theodore stopped 19 shots while Ovechkin had another two-goal night in a Capitals home opener. Matt Bradley and Brooks Laich rounded out the Capitals scoring.
OCT. 3, 2009: CAPS 6 – MAPLE LEAFS 4
On their way to their best season in franchise history, the Caps beat Toronto 6-4 behind three point efforts from Semin (2G, 1A) and Ovechkin (1G, 2A). Newcomers Brendan Morrison and Mike Knuble also found the back of the net, as did Laich who finished with a goal and an assist.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 27 of 31 shots in earning his first win of the season.
OCT. 9, 2010: CAPS 7 – DEVILS 2
For the second time in a decade the Capitals blew the Devils out and chased Martin Brodeur in a home opener win.
Once again Ovechkin was the offensive star with two goals and an assist, while John Carlson had three points of his own (1G, 2A).
Michael Neuvirth stopped 31 of 33 shots in the Capitals win while Brodeur allowed five goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Johan Hedberg to start the third period.
OCT. 8, 2011: CAPS 4 – HURRICANES 3 (OT)
Mike Green netted the game-winning goal as the Capitals beat the Hurricanes in overtime. The opening night win kicked off what would go down as the best start in franchise history at 7-0-0.
Semin, Laich and Jason Chimera also scored for the Caps, Ovechkin added an assist and Neuvirth stopped 28 of 31 shots to earn his second straight win on opening night at Verizon Center.