Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Rick Green converted the Capitals' sour play into a power play that salvaged fan appreciation and a 2-2 tie with the Chicago Black Hawks at Capital Centre last night.
Boos attending Washington's fourth straight unsuccessful extra-man effort had barely cleared the air when the Hawks' Phil Russell tripped Dave Forbes to set up a fifth chance with six minutes left and Chicago ahead, 2-1.
Green skated across the Hawks' blue line, faked defenseman Dale Tallon out of position and lined a 20-foot shot into the upper corner on goalie Tony Esposito's glove side.
It was a satisfactory conclusion for the Capitals, who were outshot 33-21 and outplayed most of a scoreless second period in which goalie Bernie Wolfe made 13 saves.
The game was a physical confrontation and the heat in Capital Centre left the players weary. The Capitals will have no time for rejuvenation, however; an 8 o'clock contest in Philadelphia tonight (WDCA-TV-20) is just a bus ride away.
Washington scored first and the man who poked the puck past Esposito quickly followed the vulcanized rubber into the net. It was rookie Nelson Burton, playing his first NHL game, and he was eager to claim his souvenir.
Burton, a left wing, found himself on the right side and he passed back toward the left point, where Green beat the Hawks to the puck and uncorked a long, low shot. Esposito blocked it and Burton netted the rebound.
"I saw Billy Collins over there and I figured either he or the point man would get it, so I fired the puck and went for the net," said Burton.
Burton thought he had been left behind to permit an infected left elbow to heal when his American League Hershey Bears left on a road trip Sunday. Instead, he learned to his surprise, he was headed for Washington and a moment of glory.
Ivan Boldirev pulled Chicago even when he cut around rookie Robert Picard - making his Capital Centre debut - fended off the other defenseman, Jack Lynch, and flipped a backhander that struck Wolfe's pad and trickled between his legs over the goal line.
Wolfe stopped eight shots before Washington tested Esposito in the second period, but the tie remained unbroken until 1:49 of the third period. The Hawks' Pierre Plante outmuscled Guy Charron for the puck behind the Washington net and fed Jim Harrison in front so quickly that the red light was flickering before either Wolfe or defenseman Bryan Watson could react.
The smell of doom stayed in the air until Green capped a magnificent night of defensive hockey with his brilliant offensive effort.
"It was a case of seeing the opening, beating the defenseman and going one on one with Esposito," Green said. "He didn't give me much net, but I picked a corner, high on his glove side, and got it. I could have gone in further, but I could sense somebody was trailing me and if I waited I might have been pulled down. I shot right from the hashmarks between the circles."
Green was the best player on the ice - although Harrison was a close second - just as he was in Atlanta. In between, in Colorado and Minnesota, he was just another confused Capital.
"I don't think there's an explanation," Green said. "You try to prepare yourself for every game, but sometimes in a game the puck will bounce the wrong way, or a guy will be there when you don't expect him."