That is all coach Tom McVie needs to write on the dressing-room blackboard tonight to guarantee that the Washington Capitals will be emotionally high for their 7:30 Capital Centre date with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Just 13 nights ago, in Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto humiliated the Capitals, 10-0. It has not been an easy game to forget.

"I was ashamed," McVie said. "A lot of my old lacrosse buddies were in town for a sports dinner. We went out afterward and so many people told me not to worry about it, I almost got sick."

Gerry Meehan, whose NHL career began in Toronto nine years ago, expects his teammates to joim him in a little bit of a vendetta.

"There won't be any trouble getting up for this one, Meehan said. "I don't recall them showing any mercy. What we have to concern ourselves with is getting so high that we tighten up."

The last time the Capitals wanted to win very badly, in Los Angeles Feb. 2, they were tight as drums, committing dozens of basic errors and dropping a 7-2 decision.

In recent games, Washington has adopted a physical style of hockey, banging opponents with relish. It is the kind of play that "pays off in victories, so long as the assailants can restrain themselves from activity that creates a standing-room only situation in the penalty box.

One of the Capitals who seems particularly suited to a physical game is right wing Harland Morgan, and three have been smiles on the faces of McVie and general manager Max McNab as Monahan has endorsed some jarring checks in the past two weeks.

"When we go into their building, they'-they are cranking us, so why shouldn't we do it to them when they come in here," Monahan said. "We're hitting them before they hit us. We've been trying to get it going so everybody's hitting. We want to take the body.

"But it's important to get in front of the man. It doesn't do any good to be running all over the place trying to hit people. If you miss, they're around you, and if you try to knock a guy through the boards you'll probably pick up a penalty and be out of the play besides.

"If you hit early, it gets you into the game. And it's helping our line get more chances."

Monahan, center Guy Charron and left wing Ace Bailey played a competent, though scoreless, last two periods in the 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh Tuesday. Craig Patrick replaced Bailey at left wing in the first period, as McVie shook up all three lines, but he returned to the old format with noticeable improvement.

"The other teams key on our line quite a bit," Monahan said, "and they have been bogging us down. Up till Christmas time Guy and I had been scoring at a regular pace. It was a kind of disheartening for a while, but Gerry's (Meehan) scoring took a lot of the pressure off. Lately Ronnie's (Lalonde) line has been scoring and that helps the situation."

Tonight's game is a virtual sellout, which figures to add to the Capitals' incentive. Also, the Maple Leafts are hurting, with Claire Alexander and Kurt Walker lost for the season. Borje Salming, the all-star defenseman who missed Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the New York Rangers, is doubtfultonight.