It’s been five months since the Washington Capitals last stepped off the ice as they were unceremoniously swept out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Much has changed since early May; seven players are out and five new ones are in. One thing, however, has remained constant for the Caps: a desire to finally reach the precipice that is the Stanley Cup and prove doubters wrong in the process. Saturday at Verizon Center, the Caps’ quest for the Cup continues when they open the season against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The biggest news coming into Saturday’s game is that Michal Neuvirth will start ahead of Tomas Vokoun. Despite being named as the No. 1 goalie by head coach Bruce Boudreau this summer, that apparently does not matter for Saturday.
Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin has returned to Washington after spending the last few days in Russia with his family after the passing of a relative.
Washington is 10-1-1 all-time in home openers at Verizon Center. Their lost loss in a home opener came in 2000 in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The Caps and Hurricanes last met in a home opener at Verizon Center in 2007, when the former defeated the latter 2-0. Carolina opened their season Friday in less than stellar fashion; after taking a 1-0 lead, the Hurricanes gave up five unanswered goals in a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington’s opponent Monday.