In news that will come as a disappointment to fans who were hoping the Pittsburgh Penguins would be on the ice when the Capitals raise their first Stanley Cup banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena, the NHL on Wednesday announced that Washington will open its first regular season as champions at home Oct. 3 against the Boston Bruins.
The full regular season schedule won’t be announced until Thursday, but we already know Washington will travel to Pittsburgh for the Penguins’ home opener Oct. 4. Perhaps Alex Ovechkin could pack a mini championship banner for the occasion and drape it over his shoulders during pregame warmups, or Washington could just delay its banner-raising ceremony until Pittsburgh’s next trip to D.C.
This is about revenge. After the Penguins won their third Stanley Cup in 2016, the NHL cruelly scheduled Pittsburgh’s home opener for the following season against the Capitals, a team they had knocked out of the playoffs that May and seven previous times since 1991.
The Penguins made the most of the opportunity to taunt their familiar playoff foes. During the pregame ceremony at PPG Paints Arena on Oct. 13, the Penguins played a highlight video from their 2016 playoff run, including the celebration that followed Nick Bonino’s overtime goal in Game 6 of their second-round series against Washington. While Sidney Crosby was ruled out for the home opener with a concussion, the Penguins’ captain skated onto the ice in full uniform and carried the Stanley Cup before the banner was raised. For Capitals fans, it was all quite gross, made even worse by the fact that Washington would go on to lose the game, 3-2, in a shootout.
The Penguins would troll the Capitals during their first visit to D.C. that season, too.
The NHL spared the Capitals the humiliation of opening the season in Pittsburgh following the Penguins’ repeat title in 2017; the Penguins hosted the Blues in their home opener.
The Capitals also will be the opponent for the New Jersey Devils’ 2018-19 home opener. That game is set for Oct. 11, the NHL announced.
More on the Capitals: