When I was at Kettler Thursday morning, a longtime Caps fan, Glenn Swanson of Arlington, said this to me:

“The season started yesterday. The rest of it was a bunch of exhibition games.”

Which might explain why Game 1 of the Rangers series was the most-watched Caps broadcast on Comcast SportsNet of the season, and the second-most watched game in network history. That’s usually an honor reserved for things like Game 7, but people have been waiting 82 games for this.

And in fact, 82 games ago came the most-watched game CSN has ever broadcast, the Game 7 loss to Montreal, which earned an 8.10 rating in the D.C. market. This week’s Rangers game got a 6.18, good for about 145,000 households.

Game 1 against Montreal last season only earned a 5.10, which means this year saw a 21 percent jump. And last year's seven-game playoff average was only 5.34, which means this year’s is already 16 percent higher. That was the most watched playoff series in CSN history.

The regular season average on CSN, if you’re wondering, was 1.78, good for about 42,000 D.C. area homes, and the highest in network history.