Pick a frame by which to remember the night, and eternally there will be Alex Ovechkin’s ascent past the greats his sport has produced, a pursuit that is both relentless and astounding. But on one enthralling Wednesday night, it would be hard to trump a smiling, sliding Hendrix Lapierre depositing the puck into the New York Rangers’ goal, then crashing his 19-year-old bones into the end boards.

That thud couldn’t shake the grin from one ear lobe to the other. That thud only raised the din that rang through Capital One Arena, filled with all those red sweaters for the first time in 19 months. That thud had T.J. Oshie — a full 15 years older than his stubble-faced teammate — tossing off his gloves and lifting Lapierre off the ice, one generation lifting the other, a favor that must be returned over the course of a long season.

“I don’t know why I did that,” Oshie said. “I was just super-excited for him.”

“For a first game,” Lapierre said. “I don’t think I could have asked for a better one.”

Spread that feeling around. Draw up a Washington Capitals’ opening night, and it looks something like it did Wednesday: the New York Rangers in town, ready to announce their presence as contenders in the Metropolitan Division, and being soundly turned away by the Caps in a 5-1 drubbing that had something for — and from — everyone.

Start with the peerless Ovechkin, who opened his season with two power-play assists and then added two goals — one from the comfort of the power play, one in the absolutely unorthodox shorthanded category. He’s 36 and should be slowing down. Yet with each goal he scores, it’s worth checking the all-time lists, where there’s bound to be movement. Why, here he was, now with 732 in his career. The pair against the Rangers moved him past Marcel Dionne into fifth.

At a stoppage in play in the third period, Dionne appeared with a congratulatory video on the scoreboard. “Don’t stop,” Dionne said.

What evidence is there that he will? Ever? Lapierre, the promising center who made his NHL debut, needs only 40 goals a year for the next 18 seasons and change to match Ovechkin. Next up for Ovi: Brett Hull at 741.

So … Wayne Gretzky’s 894 in, say, March?

“Of course, it’s a huge privilege to be on that list,” Ovehckin said.

Not to mention a huge privilege to play on that same sheet of ice.

“Sometimes I think you take for granted how often he scores,” said Oshie, entering his seventh season as Ovechkin’s teammate. “I saw the number of goals again — I feel like it’s been a while since I looked up and saw it — and that’s a lot of goals. There’s a lot of really good players that never even reach that many games. It doesn’t get old, and it really is special to be here for these milestones.”

The thing about Ovechkin on Wednesday: He fit right in to a Capitals’ performance that was as complete as it was encouraging. He and Evgeny Kuznetsov — an absolutely pivotal character if this season is to be a success — each had assists on the Caps’ first two power-play goals. There will be a time this season when we will gripe about whether the Caps can generate enough offense in five-on-five situations; it’s an annual wintertime concern. That time wasn’t Wednesday, because the power play burst into the season looking its old, overwhelming self.

Include a performance from goalie Vitek Vanecek, something of a surprise starter over Ilya Samsonov. Vanecek, in just his second NHL season, played calmly and confidently, stopping 23 of 24 shots, taking the early lead over Samsonov as the goalie Coach Peter Laviolette turns to most frequently. Stay calm. There’s only 81 more opportunities for that to toggle back and forth.

Turn to the idea that the Rangers were here merely to bait Capitals forward Tom Wilson into some irresponsible shenanigans. Wilson simply looked at the worm on the hook and swam away. There is bad blood here, what with a pair of full-on brawls between these two teams last spring, fights in which Wilson served as hero/villain, depending on whether the crowd gathering was in Manhattan or Chinatown.

The Rangers even brought along new enforcer Ryan Reaves. The NHL, in turn, brought Commissioner Gary Bettman and George Parros, the head of the league’s department of player safety. That’s some high alert.

“We think it would be best if everybody focused on being on the right side of the line as opposed to the wrong side of the line,” Bettman said. “The game has our attention.”

That’s a lot for those in a singing, chanting, (mostly) mask-wearing crowd to digest — and then scream about as if they hadn’t all been together since March 4, 2020. Which, come to think of it, they hadn’t. Capital One hadn’t been completely full since before we could imagine how devastating and disabling the coronavirus pandemic could be. If it seemed as if there was a little edge when that sellout gang of 18,573 reacted to the Rangers’ goal midway through the third period with a full-throated, “Who cares!” well, that’s because there was.

So maybe the only thing missing was Nicklas Backstrom, reduced to being introduced pregame standing on a rug on the ice, a sweater over his suit because he’s out for who-knows-how-long with a hip issue.

If Backstrom’s absence is somehow symbolic — because the been-here-forever Caps’ core is mostly described as “old,” and nothing says “old” quite like a 33-year-old nursing a hip problem — then Lapierre’s arrival balances it out. In a way, that’s what this season is about: acknowledging the team still belongs to Ovechkin, Backstrom, Oshie, John Carlson and Wilson but easing in youth to take the burden off the veterans before they need walkers and canes.

“He’s a talented kid,” Ovechkin said. “Fun to watch and obviously I hope he’s going to have a great future.”

Lapierre’s postgame smile showed a future with so much ahead — so many games, so many goals, so many seasons. Any 19-year-old would do well to have half the career Ovechkin has produced. When Ovechkin played his first Capitals game, in which he scored his first two Capitals goals, Lapierre was 3. He once had Ovechkin’s jersey. Now he shares a locker room — and a celebration.

“He’s the greatest scorer of all time,” Lapierre said.

“I just enjoy my time,” Ovechkin said.

That has been true for 16 seasons. It was true again Wednesday night, to start the 17th. Another Caps’ season opened in perfect fashion. The Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning is here Saturday night. Why not do it again?