Mario Lemieux (with a reportedly healthier back) and the Pittsburgh Penguins will be the opponent at Capital Centre on Friday, Oct. 5, when the Patrick Division-champion Washington Capitals open their 1990-91 National Hockey League season.

One night later, the Detroit Red Wings and Steve Yzerman will come to town. Yzerman finished third in the league in scoring with 127 points, one spot above Lemieux, who had 123.

The 80-game regular season will have the Capitals at home for six of their first nine games and for eight of their last 11. The regular season will end on March 31, when the Capitals make their only trip to Buffalo.

The Stanley Cup-champion Edmonton Oilers will make their only visit to Landover Feb. 8. NHL scoring champion Wayne Gretzky (142 points) and the Los Angeles Kings will make two stops, Nov. 2 and March 5. The Boston Bruins, who eliminated the Capitals in the Prince of Wales Conference finals this past season, will be here on Nov. 11 and March 24.

Teams have some say in how their schedules are shaped. The Capitals say marketing surveys indicate fans prefer weekend games, so the schedule is weighted that way. As they did last season, the Capitals will play 36 back-to-back games, most on weekends. In 1989-90, Washington was 5-12-1 when playing on the second of two consecutive nights.

Meanwhile, the Capitals announced captain Rod Langway has had surgery to repair his nose, which has been knocked every which way but loose in 12 NHL seasons. Center Mike Ridley also had surgery this past week, to have a cyst removed from his sinus cavities and his nose straightened.

OCTOBER

5....Pittsburgh....8:05....

6....Detroit....7:35....

10....at N.Y. Rangers....TBA....

12....Winnipeg....8:05....

13....N.Y. Rangers....7:35....

15....at Montreal....TBA....

17....at New Jersey....TBA....

19....N.Y. Islanders...8:05

20....New Jersey.......7:35

23....at Philadelphia...TBA

25....at Chicago........TBA

27....at Calgary........TBA

28....at Edmonton.......TBA

30....at Vancouver......TBA NOVEMBER

2....Los Angeles.......8:05

3....at N.Y. Islanders..TBA

6....at Quebec..........TBA

10....Buffalo..........7:35

11....Boston...........7:05

14....at Toronto........TBA

16....Chicago..........8:05

17....at Hartford.......TBA

19....at Detroit........TBA

21....Toronto..........8:05

23....Pittsburgh.......8:05

24....at Pittsburgh.....TBA

28....at N.Y. Rangers...TBA

30....Montreal.........8:05 DECEMBER

1....at N.Y. Islanders....TBA

5....at Pittsburgh........TBA

7....New Jersey..........8:05

8....at New Jersey........TBA

11....Philadelphia.......7:35

15....Hartford...........7:35

17....at N.Y. Rangers.....TBA

19....at Chicago..........TBA

20....at St. Louis........TBA

22....Toronto............1:35

26....Pittsburgh.........7:35

28....N.Y. Rangers.......8:05

29....at Quebec...........TBA JANUARY

1....New Jersey...........1:35

4....Philadelphia.........8:05

5....at Boston.............TBA

11....Calgary.............8:05

12....at Montreal..........TBA

15....at St. Louis.........TBA

17....at Minnesota.........TBA

22....at Detroit...........TBA

24....at Philadelphia......TBA

25....Minnesota...........8:05

27....N.Y. Islanders.....12:05

29....at Pittsburgh........TBA

31....at N.Y. Islanders....TBA FEBRUARY

2....Winnipeg..........7:35

5....Vancouver.........7:35

8....Edmonton..........8:05

10....Philadelphia.....1:35

15....at Calgary........TBA

16....at Vancouver......TBA

18....at Los Angeles....TBA

22....N.Y. Rangers.....8:05

24....Pittsburgh.......1:35

25....at New Jersey.....TBA

27....at N.Y. Rangers...TBA MARCH

2....N.Y. Islanders.......7:35

5....Los Angeles..........7:35

8....at Winnipeg...........TBA

10....at Edmonton..........TBA

12....Hartford............7:35

14....Quebec..............7:35

16....Philadelphia........7:35

19....St. Louis...........7:35

21....at N.Y. Islanders....TBA

22....Minnesota...........8:05

24....Boston..............1:35

26....Buffalo.............7:35

28....at Philadelphia......TBA

30....New Jersey..........7:35

31....at Buffalo...........TBA