Washington Capitals first game was 39 years ago Wednesday

Yvon Labre made his Capitals debut on Oct. 9, 1974, starting a career with the team that led to his number being retired. Photo: Associated Press

(WJLA) - It was 39 years ago today that the Washington Capitals made their NHL debut.

On Oct. 9, 1974, the expansion Capitals made their National Hockey League debut in a game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Despite center Jim Hrycuik scoring the team's first regular season goal, the Capitals inaugural season got off to an inauspicious start in a 6-3 loss to the Rangers.

It was one of many losses the foundering Capitals would suffer during the 1974-75 season, which is considered to be one of the worst in NHL history.

Washington posted an 8-67-5 record, which still stands as the least wins of any team in a single season as well as the lowest single-season winning percentage in NHL history.

The Capitals' first game marked the debut of two notable players in team history - Greg Joly, the franchise's first ever draft pick, and Yvon Labre, who's retired number now hangs in the rafters at the Verizon Center.