WASHINGTON – While the fisticuffs never materialized, the Washington Capitals made a season-opening 5-1 victory against the division-rival New York Rangers memorable Wednesday night for Alex Ovechkin's 731st and 732nd goals and Hendrix Lapierre's first.
Ovechkin scored twice to pass Marcel Dionne for sole possession of fifth place on the NHL goals list, putting him a couple of steps closer to Wayne Gretzky's record that had long seemed unbreakable.
Ovechkin, one game into a new five-year contract to chase the mark, needs 163 goals to pass Gretzky.
Washington's T.J. Oshie opened the scoring on the power play in the first, Justin Schultz added a power-play goal in the second and Lapierre scored 24 seconds later on a two-on-one rush.
Ovechkin added another on the power play from his trademark spot in the faceoff circle to make it 4-0. Chris Kreider scored on the power play for New York midway through the third period, but that was the only goal Vitek Vanecek gave up on 24 shots.
Ovechkin scored a short-handed goal – just the fifth of his career – to put the game out of reach.
Alexandar Georgiev allowed five goals on 27 Capitals shots, getting the nod in the first half of a back-to-back with regular starter Igor Shesterkin expected to be in net for the Rangers home opener.