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Caps Today, 10/7/17

October 7, 2017
Washington Capitals forward Nathan Walker is scheduled to make his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens and will become the first Australian-national to play in the NHL. The Sydney, Australia, native became the first Australian drafted to the NHL after Washington selected him in the third round, 89th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft. Walker has represented Australia at the 2011 IIHF World Championship Division II tournament and at the 2012 World Championship Division 1 Group B tournament. Walker registered 23 points (11g, 12a) in 58 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL) during the 2016-17 season. In the 2015-16 season, Walker was named Hershey's 2016 Man of the Year, Unsung Hero and Most Improved Player.

Media Reminder

Walker will be available to the media following the Capitals 10:30 a.m. morning skate on Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Additionally, the Capitals will hold a conference call for out-of-town and Australian media on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. Please contact a member of the Communication staff for the call-in information

The Capitals will host Rock the Red Carpet on F Street in front of Capital One Arena from 3:30 to 5 p.m. today, prior to the Capitals Opening Night presented by GEICO. The Capitals 2017-18 team will begin arriving in cars provided by Lexus on F Street, between 6th and 7th street NW, at approximately 3:30 p.m. They will be introduced and escorted by preselected fans down the red carpet. Upon arrival players will greet fans and pose for pictures


Stonewall - In 14 career games against the Montreal Canadiens, Braden Holtby is 10-1-2 with a .941 save percentage and a 1.62 goals-against average. It marks Holtby's highest save percentage and lowest goals-against average against any franchise in the NHL. It also marks the second-highest save percentage among active goaltenders with at least 10 career games played against the Canadiens (Pekka Rinne: .951) and the second-lowest goals against average (Rinne: 1.37). Holtby has allowed just 14 even strength goals against Montreal in his career.

Hot Start - In his 13th career season opener, Alex Ovechkin recorded a hat trick off of three-straight shots in the third period against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 5. That marked the third time in his career Ovechkin recorded three goals in a single period and the first time he tallied three in the third period. Ovechkin's three-goal effort was his third multi-goal game in a season opener (2005, 2009) and his first career hat trick in a opening game. The hat trick was Ovechkin's 18th of his career, one behind Peter Bondra's franchise record of 19. Since entering the NHL in the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin leads the NHL in hat tricks, five more than the Minnesota Wild's Eric Staal, who has the second most since Ovechkin entered the League. Ovechkin's three goals marked his 559th, his 560th and his 561st career goal, passing Guy Lafleur (560) and tying Mike Modano (561) for 24th on the all-time goals list. Mats Sundin and Joe Nieuwendyk rank 22nd on the all-time list (564).

Home Cookin - The Capitals posted a 32-7-2 record at home last season, marking the most home wins in franchise history. In addition, Washington has led the NHL in home wins in each of the last two seasons (61 in total) and ranked first in goals against (67) and third in goals per game (133) at home last season.

Familiar Foes - On June 24, 2016, the Capitals sent two second round draft picks (2017 and 2018) to the Canadiens for Lars Eller. Prior to joining the Capitals, Eller appeared in 435 games over six seasons with Montreal, finishing his tenure with 154 points (71g, 83a). In the 2015-16 season with the Canadiens, Eller finished with 26 points (13g, 13a) in 79 games, ranking sixth on the team in goals scored that season. Eller became the 47th player in Canadiens' franchise history to record four goals in a game (1/4/2012 vs. WPG). Eller's 435 games played ranks 73rd in Canadiens' franchise history and he is one of 143 players to record at least 100 points in a Canadiens sweater. Additionally, Devante Smith-Pelly played in 66 total games for the Canadiens from 2015 to 2016. Smith-Pelly recorded 15 points (7g, 8a) with the Canadiens and is credited with becoming the 500th player in Canadiens' history to score a goal (April 5, 2015 at FLA). Canadiens' defenseman Karl Alzner is scheduled to return to Washington for the first time since joining Montreal. Alzner ranks eighth in Capitals franchise history in games played by a defenseman (591).

Habsolutely Unstoppable - In 42 games against the Montreal Canadiens, Alex Ovechkin has 44 points (23g, 21a). Ovechkin is one of only five active players with at least 20 goals against Montreal (Jaromir Jagr: 43, Jason Spezza: 31, Eric Staal: 21, Patrice Bergeron: 20). Ovechkin's 0.55 goals per game against the Canadiens is the highest per game total among active players with at least 20 career games against the Canadiens and the 17th-highest all-time, despite having an average shot distance of 34.7 feet against Montreal, the third-longest average shot distance among active forwards.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Host Canadiens in '17-18 Home Opener / POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 5, Sens 4 (SO) / Ovechkin's Hat Trick Helps Caps to Opening Night Win / SKATE SHAVINGS: News and Notes From Caps' Morning Skate

Washington Capitals: Ovechkin's Hat Trick Helps Caps to Opening Night Win / Walker to Become First Australian to Play in the NHL / A New Year and a Fresh Start for Two Young Forwards / #CapsSens Postgame Notebook: Hey, Nineteen

Washington Post: Alex Ovechkin scores hat trick in 7 minutes as Caps rally to win opener in shootout / 2017-18 Washington Capitals Preview: New look. Same expectation / Meet forward Tyler Graovac, the biggest surprise of the Capitals’ preseason / For Jakub Vrana, playing with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin is almost beyond words

NBC Sports Washington: Six bold predictions for the Caps' season / Ovechkin saves Caps in Ottawa as Washington earns shootout win  / Caps' Nathan Walker set to make history Saturday night / Prediction recap: Ovechkin to the rescue / Ovechkin offered Alzner some advice ahead of Saturday's meeting / Despite shootout win, Capitals defense still has a lot to sort out / Ovechkin scores 18th career hat trick to keep Caps in it against Senators Ovechkin gets hat trick, shootout goal in Capitals win against Senators

AP: Ovechkin has hat trick as Capitals beat Senators in shootout / Caps’ Walker set to become first Australian to play in NHL

CBC: Ovechkin pots hat trick as Caps deny Sens in SO

ESPN: Australian Nathan Walker set to create NHL history

Montreal Gazette: Canadiens at Washington Capitals: Five things you should know

Ottawa Citizen: Capitals win in a shootout to spoil opening night for Senators / Chiasson turns PTO into contract with Caps, makes debut against his old team

Sporting News: Nathan Walker will become first Australian to play in NHL, Caps announce

WTOP: Washington Capitals head into great wide open 2017-18

Yahoo Sports: Alex Ovechkin notches lightning-quick hat trick vs. Senators Ready your awful Australian jokes for Nathan Walker’s NHL debut

Japer’s Rink: Friday Caps Clips: Russian to Judgment / The Metropolitan Division's Top 10 Left Wings: 2017-18 / Caps vs. Sens Recap: Ovechkin Hat-Trick Lifts Caps to 5-4 Shootout Victory / Saturday Caps Clips: Capitals vs. Canadiens Game Day / By the Numbers: Alex Ovechkin’s Hat Trick History / Rink Rank: Capitals vs. Senators

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Walker's Helmet Cam: 2014 Camp / Nathan Walker Mic'd Up: 2014 Camp / At the DMV: Walker and Burakovsky / Barry Trotz Postgame | October 5 / Caps Postgame | October 5 / WSH @ OTT / Caps 365 | October 5 / Recap: WSH 5, OTT 4 - F/SO / Holtby's acrobatic shootout save / Kuznetsov's shootout winner / Holtby's dazzling glove save /Ovechkin buries his third goal /  Ovechkin punches home his second / Ovechkin's rocket goes top shelf / Holtby robs Oduya on the doorstep / Connolly's rocket from the slot

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals Faceoff Episode 41 -- Ovechkin goes off in season opener / Trotz on the Caps' 5-4 overtime win / Ovechkin reflects on his Opening Night hat trick / Alex Ovechkin nets 3rd goal to complete hat trick in Ottawa / Offseason Timeline: A look back at the Capitals' summer / Barry Trotz explains Caps' new power play look

Canadiens Clips:

Eyes on the Prize: Saturday Habs Headlines: Karl Alzner prepares for his first home opener as a visitor in Washington

Montreal Gazette: Stu Cowan: Victor Mete keeps standing tall on Canadiens blue line / What the Puck: Canadiens start with a win, but debate rages on Alzner: Back where it began