The Washington Capitals opened their season on Thursday in the same building in which their 2016 postseaosn ended. There was not much to separate the two Metropolitan Division favorites in Thursday's season opener, but in the end the Caps fell 3-2 in a shootout to the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
How it happened: Andre Burakovsky's two goals were enough to force overtime, but Pittsburgh emerged victorious in a shootout after a video review showed a shot by Phil Kessel that was originally called no-goal actually snuck into the top shelf of the net.
What it means: The Caps earned their first point of the season, but were unable to erase the bad taste left in their mouth from last year's playoff elimination at the hands of the Penguins.
Banner raising: As the Penguins celebrated their Stanley Cup championship by raising the banner during a pregame ceremony, the Capitals were absent from the ice. It was unclear just how Washington would handle Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup banner raising. In June, Barry Trotz indicated he wanted his team to be present in order to gain extra motivation for the season. Trotz backed off of that on Wednesday, however, as he did not want his team standing on the bench for a prolonged period of time before the game. The Caps did in fact remain in the locker room and results showed with Washington's quick start to the game.
Seeing double: Andre Burakovsky wasted no time in getting the Caps on the board. The young forward netted the team’s first goal of the season just 59 seconds into the game after taking a beautiful feed from Nicklas Backstrom. With the Caps trailing 2-1 in the third period, Burakovsky struck again as he was teed up by a nifty back pass from Backstrom in the slot. With Evgeny Kuznetsov's promotion to the top line, Backstrom centered the second line with fellow countrymen Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson. It's a trio that clearly worked as Burakovsky and Backstrom showed clear chemistry immediately.
No luck for Eller: Lars Eller looked good in his Capitals debut and very nearly scored. Twice. He beat Marc-Andre Fleury twice, but both times Eller was denied by the post including once in overtime.
Rivalry renewed: Whenever the Caps and Penguins meet, things can get pretty heated. This game got downright nasty at times especially late in the second period when Justin Williams literally suplexed Evgeni Malkin to the ice. He received a two-minute minor for the play.
Look ahead: The Caps now return to Washington for their next two games. Their home opener comes on Saturday as they host divisional foe New York Islanders.