The Washington Capitals, given a lift by two victories in their last three games, resume action here Tuesday night (WTOP-1500, 11 p.m.), in a city that has provided the team with much hospitality off the ice, none on it.
The Capitals have visited the British Columbia metropolis six times and have been beaten six times, with none of the games being in much doubt at any time.
Before departing on this journey that includes a Saturday night contest in Los Angeles, the Capitals returned center Doug Gibson to Hershey of the American Hockey League. Gibson had scored two goals during a 2 1/2 week stay in Washington.
Left wing ace Bailey also was left behind, to permit his damaged right knee to heal properly. Bailey has twice attempted to play while hurting and this time, general manager Max McNab said, "We're going to wait until he's 100 per cent."
Bill Collins, who has played right wing through most of his career, will center Mike Marson and Tom Rowe Tuesday night, Collins won 24 or 34 faceoffs over the weekend.
"I first saw him as a center in the Western League," McNab said, "and I think he has all the tools. He's always been a good forechecker."
If Collins encounters problems, right wing Eddy Godin could be the next player to try to switch to center. Godin impressed McNab with his play in the 5-3 victory over Cleveland on Wednesday night that snapped the team's 20-game winless streak.
"Young Godin looks pretty clever with the puck," McNab said. "He has made a number of good plays from a normal center man's position. He brought the Cleveland defense to a complete stop with a head shake and made a play to (Dave) Forbes that sent Forbes home free. Our centers haven't made any like that for a long time."
Bob Girard was assured status as one of the boys on the long flight, after his first goal of the season beat the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night, 2-1.'
"Nothing brings a guy closer to new teammates than getting a big goal," McNab said, "and that one was certainly very timely."
Although Bernie Wolfe reportedly played well in Hershey's 7-2 victory Saturday night, he will remain with the AHL team. Jim Bedard was even better against St. Louis and he and Gary Smith were selected as the goalies for the West Coast trip.