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During the fall, 20-year-old forward Liam O’Brien was given an amateur contract from the Capitals. Back then, his goal was simply to stick around for a few more days. Instead, he became one of the most impressive players during camp, earning a three-year entry-level contract at its completion for his hard work and grit.

On October 14th, O’Brien notched his first NHL point (and first NHL tongue wag) against the San Jose Sharks. Against the Canucks on Sunday, O’Brien scored his first NHL goal on former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller.

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Robert and Pernilla Burakovsky at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Back in September, we threw a fundraiser for Fort Dupont Ice Arena. We called it #PARTYZORD, had a ton of fun, and raised $2,800 for a great cause. One way we raised money was through a silent auction that included cool stuff like signed t-shirts and fanny packs, a jersey, bobbleheads, Rachel’s art, and a pair of tickets to the Caps’ home opener courtesy of Troy and Carmen Brouwer.

Bob McDonald, whom you all know as one of the Caps’ primary national anthem singers, won the tickets (thanks to a very generous donation). He didn’t know it at the time, but those tickets gave Bob a front-row seat for a touching family moment as Andre Burakovsky’s parents, Robert and Pernilla, were in attendance for their son’s first NHL game and got to see him score his first NHL goal.

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Photo: Patrick McDermott

19-year-old Andre Burakovsky has already scored his first NHL goal, and we’re not even ten minutes old! Skating between Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson, Burakovsky continued his torrid pace from the preseason, scoring a one-timer from the slot.

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This is just about the best photo ever. (Photo: Rob Carr)

Eight games into his NHL career (which feels absolutely appropriate), Evgeny Kuznetsov has scored the first goal of his NHL career. It was a big one.

With under a minute to go and with the Caps shorthanded and with their goalie pulled, Kuznetsov whacked Alex Ovechkin‘s rebound past Jonathan Quick. That goal tied the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals at 4. It unleashed a raucous celebration in Verizon Center. And it gave the Caps one very badly needing standings point. Call it clutch.

Kuznetsov now has six points in his eight games as an NHL player. I don’t know about you, but so far he looks to me like he has the potential to be a superstar in this league. This dirty goal was just a taste.

Now onto the media extravaganza!

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Twenty-seven-year-old Julien Brouillette has spent his entire career in the ECHL and AHL. In his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, Brouillette got his first NHL assist, and on Saturday he scored his first NHL goal. Here in DC to watch all that hard work pay off were two of his biggest fans, his parents, who barely made it in time for the milestones.

This story involves 20,000 chickens and a 10-hour drive, so try to get your head wrapped around that now.

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Photo credit: Geoff Burke

Through 14 games and 100 minutes on ice, Tom Wilson had yet to score an NHL point. The rookie class had started to blow by him. But Wilson had been making the most of his limited ice-time. In the Capitals’ 6-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday night, Wilson’s hard work finally paid off.

Wilson recorded his first NHL assist in the second period. In the third, he scored his first NHL goal.

So kind of a big night for the 19-year-old.

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WOOOOO! (Photo credit: John Russell)

The Filip Forsberg/Martin Erat trade still elicits strong reactions from Caps fans. (Like I’m warning you now, you’re going to want to bring a hatchet into the comments below because this one’s gonna get gory.)

Adam Oates has put Erat — George McPhee’s 32-year-old, $4.5 million toy — on the fourth line where he averages under 8 minutes a game. For Caps fans already unhappy with the trade, Erat’s modest utilization had them grinding their teeth.

After Tuesday night, those fans are gonna need a mouthguard. Maybe dentures. Forsberg scored the first goal of his NHL career, a snap shot on the power play, during Nashville’s 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Congrats, kid.

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Steve Oleksy holds up the puck from his first NHL goal

Oleksy smiles and holds up his milestone puck. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

In Sunday’s game between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, number 61 netted the game’s first goal. That’s not surprising: Rick Nash is an elite player. But it wasn’t New York’s number 61; it was Washington’s Steve Oleksy. Before this season, Oleksy had just a few years playing college hockey and a bunch of ECHL games to his name. Now, he’s got four points in four National Hockey League games. His goal on Sunday was the first of his NHL career.

“I don’t score a lot of goals so every one’s nice,” Oleksy said after the game. “I don’t really know what to say. I’m just kind of the kid living the dream right now.”

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Oleksy and Kundratek pose with their milestone pucks. (Photo via the Capitals’ Instagram)

Tuesday, while also a good night for the Washington Capitals, was a great one for former Hershey Bears defensemen. First, Steve Oleksy notched his first NHL point, getting an assist on Mike Ribeiro’s second period tally. Later in the period, it was Tomas Kundratek‘s turn. With the Caps down 3-1, Kundratek put Washington within one with a pin-balling shot that hit the back of the net for his inaugural NHL goal. Thanks to Eric Fehr’s magical overtime marker, Washington came back to win 4-3, beating one of the league’s top team in the Boston Bruins. Kundratek, adding to his memorable night, had an assist on the game winner.

“It’s great to comeback in a game like this against a team like this,” Kundratek said after the game. “It’s great thing for us. We’ll have to keep going after this.”

“Fans were pushing us forward,” he added. “It was unreal. It was a great crowd.”

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Erskine and Semin congratulate the ginger after his milestone goal. (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)

Here's video of Eakin's milestone marker made possible by a sweet Alex Semin cross-ice pass.

When I was twenty, I was a college senior. A few months from getting my Visual Arts degree from UMBC, I had a 1998 Toyota Camry, and I got paid $7.50 an hour to work for the school’s newspaper.

At twenty-years-old Cody Eakin is in the NHL. He plays on the league’s best team. With his entry-level contract, he makes almost $1 million a year. And tonight, November 4th, 2011, he notched his first NHL point and his first NHL goal against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Someone should knock him down a peg.

Alex Ovechkin, immediately after tonight’s 5-1 victory, did exactly that.

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