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Capitals to raise Stanley Cup banner Oct. 3 against Bruins

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

By STEPHEN WHYNO

AP Hockey Writer

The Washington Capitals will raise their first Stanley Cup banner and open their title defense on Oct. 3 against the Boston Bruins - not the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.

Washington did not face the Bruins during its Cup run but has beaten them 12 consecutive times in regular-season play. The Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights for the first championship in their 43-season franchise history.

After winning the Cup in Las Vegas and enjoying a parade down Constitution Avenue in Washington, banner night is the next chance for the Capitals to celebrate together.

"It's gonna be emotional," captain and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin said. "I'm just happy for this organization. I'm just happy I'm the guy who lift the Cup first and I'm the guy who been in this 13 years, since Day One. Lots of people been here, lots of coaches, lots of players. ... I'm happy those guys with me, and we share it together."

The Capitals will open the rival Penguins' season on Oct. 4 in Pittsburgh and serve as the road team in one other home opener, at New Jersey on Oct. 11. The NHL announced home openers for all 31 teams on Wednesday and will release the full schedule on Thursday.

The Capitals were there for the Penguins' banner-raising ceremony in 2016 after losing to Pittsburgh in the second round. Many of the Capitals players who were there for that and hoped it would serve as motivation now get to experience their own night this fall.

"We won on the road, so it'll kind of turn into a celebration for our fans again," Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "Just in our rink and stuff, watching that banner go up will be cool for everybody involved."

The Western Conference-champion Golden Knights open their second season on Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers. As previously announced, the Devils will face the Edmonton Oilers in each team's season opener on Oct. 6 in Gothenburg, Sweden, after finishing up exhibition play in Europe.

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Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SWhyno

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Updated June 20, 2018

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