It was the moment we'd all been waiting for. With every team in action this evening, Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby were to make their much anticipated debuts. The center of attention that night was the Russian however.
Ovechkin was involved in a hit with Radoslav Suchy on his first shift against the Columbus Blue Jackets. That hit dislodged a support beam. Only problem was that he was the one delivering it. Normally, it's the other way around isn't it? A cagey veteran sends a young rookie to the ice and welcomes him to the NHL.
Not on this occasion. The game was delayed for a few minutes. Dan Fritsche opened the scoring for the Blue Jackets, taking a stretch-pass and beating Olaf Kolzig blocker side. Ovechkin required less than 30 seconds to equalize with a one-timer from the slot. The first goal of Washington's season by none other than Alexander the Great.
Luke Richardson let a shot go from the blue line a few minutes later, and a sliding Fritsche was there to bury his second of the game. Apparently, the Blue Jackets rookie was looking to outdo Ovechkin and he came pretty close.
Side note: Ovechkin's 52 goals in his rookie season are more than Fritsche has put up in his career (30).
This was Ovechkin's night though, and nobody was about to take that away. Down 2-1, the Capitals received a power play and Jeff Halpern found a loose puck in front of the net.
Rather than shooting, he fed Ovechkin for a tap-in on the left side and was quickly acknowledged by the rookie. Dainius Zubrus would convert a cross-crease pass from Halpern on another man-advantage to give Washington its first lead.
That's where the scoring ended and the Capitals hung on for a 3-2 win. Although it would be a losing season, the team had gained much. More fans were coming to watch games at the MCI Center, and they had found the building block for their future.
Ovechkin became the first rookie in team history to tally two goals in his NHL debut. If you look at the team now, the only changes are that he has more talented teammates, more sold out home matches, and a team that's fighting for their second consecutive Southeast Division title.
Oct. 5, 2005 was the birth of Alexander Ovechkin into the NHL.