Washington Capitals host Calgary Flames in home opener

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The Washington Capitals will play their home opener Thursday night against the Calgary Flames, and defending NHL Most Valuable Player Alex Ovechkin and his teammates will take the ice in front of the Verizon Center faithful with high expectations for the 2013-14 season.

The Capitals opened last season ice cold, dropping nine of their first 11 games, but rallied to earn a playoff spot behind Ovechkin, who won the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. Washington bowed out of the playoffs in the first round after a grueling seven-game series against the New York Rangers.

Capitals coach Adam Oates is back, as are Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and dangerous defenseman Mike Green. Center Brooks Laich, who spent much of last season off of the ice with a groin injury, is healthy to start the season.

The home-opener for the Capitals will be their second game of the season after a 6-4 loss at defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago last Tuesday. The puck will drop for the home opener Thursday night at 7 p.m.