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Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Washington 1 1 0 1 3
St. Louis 2 0 0 0 2
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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET21:00 BRT, October 2, 2019
Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri  Attendance: 18,096

Blues open Stanley Cup defense against Capitals

Washington Capitals at St. Louis Blues

  1. The Capitals finished the 2018-19 season with one fewer win (48) than their Stanley Cup season in 2017-18, but lost in their opening round to the Hurricanes in the playoffs. Washington has won at least 45 games in five straight seasons, the longest streak in franchise history.
  2. St. Louis took home the Stanley Cup last season for the first time in franchise history. It snapped the third-longest streak without winning a Stanley Cup in NHL history, behind the Rangers (53 seasons from 1940-41 to 1992-93) and Maple Leafs (51 seasons from 1967-68 to today).
  3. The Blues swept the two-game series against the Capitals last season, outscoring them, 9-3. Prior to that, Washington had won five straight games against St. Louis, scoring at least four goals in each game.
  4. Alex Ovechkin finished with 51 goals last season, leading the NHL. It was his eighth season with at least 50 goals, third most all-time behind Wayne Gretzky (nine) and Mike Bossy (nine).
  5. Ryan O'Reilly recorded 23 points (8g, 15a) in the playoffs, matching Brad Marchand for most in the playoffs and most by any Blues skater in a postseason in franchise history. O'Reilly finished with a career-high 77 points (28g, 49a) in his first season in St. Louis -- he needs one more for 500 career points.
  6. Last season, the Blues outscored their opponents by 25 goals in the first period, best in the NHL. The Capitals were right behind them in second, outscoring their opponents by 21 goals in the first period.
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The St. Louis Blues will open their season by hosting the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night and raising their first Stanley Cup banner.

They are determined not to let the first championship in franchise history be a one-off event.

"I want to be known as a winner," Blues center Ryan O'Reilly told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I want to win that Cup again, and I don't think once is good enough. I've obviously been through so many seasons that didn't go well. And then you get a taste of what it's like and how fun it is."

The Blues return the bulk of their championship team, losing only winger Pat Maroon to the Tampa Bay Lightning via free agency and swapping defenseman Joel Edmundson to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Justin Faulk.

They got through their preseason without incurring any injuries. Top forward prospect Jordan Kyrou is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and will head to San Antonio of the AHL when he is cleared to play.

Forwards Sammy Blais, Robby Fabbri and Zach Sanford are competing for two open spots in the Blues' lineup -- one on a line with O'Reilly and David Perron and one with the Tyler Bozak/Robert Thomas tandem.

The fourth line of Oskar Sundqvist centering Ivan Barbashev and Alexander Steen returns to set the team's tempo.

"As we started winning, you could tell the attitude and the general joy of coming to the rink and playing together was just enhanced all the time," Steen said. "So we just wanted to keep that going. I think that's where the hunger is. And once you've had it once, you want it again. It's pretty addictive."

Last year at this time the Capitals raised their own banner after winning the Cup. Now they want to get back into the championship hunt after losing their first-round playoff series to the Carolina Hurricanes in the spring.

"I think with the age of our team, every year is a sense of urgency in my mind," general manager Brian MacLellan told the Washington Post. "It took us a while to get to the point where we did win a championship, and I don't know how long our window is here. We're getting a little older, but we also have some good young guys coming up, so I think we can continue to compete at a high level."

The Capitals are dealing with the three-game NHL suspension to scoring-line center Evgeny Kuznetsov for recreational substance abuse.

Defenseman Michal Kempny remains sidelined with a lingering hamstring issue. Defenseman Christian Djoos became salary cap casualty and landed on waivers.

Newcomer Radko Gudas could land next to Dmitry Orlov in the shutdown defensive pairing after arriving from the Philadelphia Flyers in a trade for defenseman Matt Niskanen.

But the core group that won Washington's first Cup remains intact.

"It is fun to kind of go out and feel like you have to prove something again," Capitals forward T.J. Oshie told the Post. "You know, before you were kind of on top and you are trying to stay there and just maintain it, and now we have to get better and improve on last year, so it is a different feeling coming in this year, and I think it will be good for us."

--Field Level Media

Updated October 2, 2019

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