Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
St. Louis hockey fans took their hats off to rookie Bernie Federko tonight. In fact, some enthusiasts sailed their chapeaus onto the ice as Federko's three goals carried the Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
In 10 games since being promoted from the Kansas City farm, the 20-year-old center has scored eight goals. This was his second hat trick, the first having Buffalo two weeks ago.
Although failed in their bid to sweep the season series from the Blues, Washington ended the season's competition with a 3-1 margin. Never before had the Capitals won a season series from anyone.
Washington struggles home to meet the New York Islanders at Capital Centre Sunday night at 7:30, burdened with a 10-game winless streak.
Penalties dug the Capitals a hole they could not escape, as Federko netted a pair of power-play goals in the first period. That brought to 14 the numbed of extra-man scores permitted by Washington in the last six games, a horrible figure for a team that ranked among the NHL penalty-killing leaders a month ago.
After Bill Collins cut the margin in half in the second period, Federko wrapped it up with 11* minutes to play. Fed in the slot by fellow rookie Brian Sutter, Federko passed up the routine shot, cut across behind Rick Bourbonnais' screen and beat goalie Ron Low with a backhander.
That sent the 16,015 fans, who sat on their hands much of the night, into a frenzy of cheering and debris dumping, including the hat tossing.
Federko recorded 72 goals and 115 assists last season with Saskatoon of the Western Canada Hockey League. Teammates Blair Chapman (Pittsburgh) and Fred Williams (Detroit) were drafted ahead of him, however, before the Blues grabbed him as the seventh selection in the first round.
A broken foot bone, suffered while playing basketball during the summer in his home town of Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, cost Federko a berth with the Blues in the fall and he was disapatched to the Central League until the Blues' need for scoring punch gave him an opportunity to play here. He has certainly provided the punch.
Federko's first goal was a deflection of Rod Seiling's drive from the right point with Washington's Yvon Labre off for holding. His second was a rebound of a Seiling blast with the Capitals' Blair Stewart out of action for a multitude of reasons.
The Blues' Larry Patey dumped Stewart hard at the Washington blue line and Stewart, temporarily stunned, rose and skated into St. Louis ice, where he cross-checked Patey in the back of the head. Although Patey lay flat for a moment, his helmet apparently absorbed most of the blow, because he got up and cut Stewart with his stick, then the two fought briefly.
Stewart escaped a match penalty, drawing two majors instead from referee John McCauley. Patey received a major and a minor and it was during the three-minute differential that Federko netted his eventual game-winner.
Stewart, who needed repairs to a gashed scalp, might have been better off if he had been thrown out. During the second period, five players were jammed against the boards and play was halted, but the Capitals' Gordie Lane skated in late and jammed an elbow into Sutter's back. Somehow, Sutter and Stewart wound up fighting, with Stewart getting much the worst of it. Lane avoided both the fisticuffs and a penalty.
Jerry Butler finished the scoring with 6 1/2 minutes to play, taking the puck from Washington's Ron Lalonde and drilling a shot off Low's pad from the right-wing circle.
The Blues held a 34-27 edge in shots, after the quickly accelerating Capitals had jumped to an 8-2 margin in the first 6 1/2 minutes. St. Louis played a physical game, as usual, and two checks by Bob Plager turned the Capitals' Bill Riley and Lane into part-time acrobats.