The Caps hosted their 1997-98 home opener against the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 3, 1997. Two nights after opening the season with a 4-1 road win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto, the Caps ran their season’s mark to 2-0 with a 6-2 win over the Sabres in their first-ever home opener at their new F St. home in the District.
The Sabres drew first blood on an Erik Rasmussen goal at 4:26 of the first period. The Caps’ Craig Berube evened the score at 1-1, scoring with help from Dale Hunter and Jan Benda at 7:01 of the first.
Buffalo regained the lead at 2-1 on a Donald Audette goal at 1:12 of the second period, but it was all Capitals thereafter as Washington struck for five unanswered goals.
Calle Johansson made it 2-2 on a power play goal from Yogi Svejkovsky and Adam Oates at 4:19 of the second. Peter Bondra scored a pair of even-strength goals in a span of just 45 seconds early in the third; Michal Pivonka logged a single assist on each of his longtime linemate’s tallies.
Phil Housley scored a shorthanded goal from Oates and Joé Juneau at 2:53, the third Washington goal in a span of 2:07 against beleaguered Buffalo goalie Dominik Hasek.
Richard Zednik closed out the scoring with a power play goal from Jan Bulis and Housley at 18:52 of the final frame.
Olaf Kolzig earned his first win of the season in his first start, stopping 21 of the 23 shots sent his way.