Incredibly, there is a team in the National Hockey League that has been unable to beat the Washington Capitals this season. That unfortunate club, the St. Louis Blues, visits Capital Centre today at 1:30 p.m.
On a previous journey here, the Blues dropped a 2-1 decision as Bob Girard produced the winning goal and Jim Bedard was outstanding in the Washington nets.
Two contests in St. Louis wound up in ties, 2-2 and 3-3. The latter deadlock was created by a last-minute goal by Robert Picard, the first time in Capitals' history that they had sucessfully lifted their goaltender for sixth skater.
The Blues, like the Capitals, are suffering through a disastrous season, taking a 15-42-12 record into last night's home game against Chicago. It has been an unexpected turnabout for St. Louis, the Smythe Division champion with 32-39-9 a year ago, and it already has cost Coach Leo Boivin his job, with Barclay Plager taking over.
The Blues carried a seven-game winless streak into the Chicago contest, while Washington was winless in four before entertaining Cleveland last night. Neither team had won a game in more than two weeks, the Blues last winning over Minnesota March 1 and the Capitals conquering Colorado Feb. 28.
St. Louis General Manager Emile Francis, like Washington counterpart Max McNab, is committed to rebuilding the Blues through the draft, rather than dealing away draft picks and marketable personnel.
"You can trade your picks and get some serviceable players who will help you for a few years." Francis said. "The only way to get the superstars that will give you the big lift is through the draft."
St. Louis has one superstar, iron man center Garry Unger, who has been rumored going to most of the NHL's better clubs. Francis is determined to hang onto Unger, too, unless somebody is willing to give up young players with a lot of potential.
Trying to maintain their 11,000 average attendance is the face of televised basketball competition, the Capitals today will provide T-shirts to the first 5,000 youngsters 14 and under.
This is the third of a five-game home stand, with Chicago coming in Wednesday and the New York Rangers Friday