Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Guy Charron whacked his head on the ice early in the second period Tuesday night and an ominous amount of time passed before he finally struggled to his feet. Once the buzzing stopped, nothing could stop Charron. He scored three goals for the second time in 10 days as the Washington Capitals fought the powerful Boston Bruins to a 4-4 tie.
"I hit my head on the ice when I got tangled with Brad Park," Charron said. "After something like that, you either wake up or go to sleep."
Charron not only woke himself up, but all 8,581 persons in Capital Centre. A minute later, at 6:49, Charron took Mike Marson's clever drop pass and whipped the game's first goal past Boston's Ron Grahame. Thirteen seconds later, Gerry Meehan converted Yvon Labre's setup, after Ace Bailey had jarred the puck loose from Park, and Washington was ahead 2-0, with a 20-9 advantage in shots.
By the time Charron scored again, Boston had a 4-2 lead and everything seemed to be going downhill for Washington. But, after the Capitals struggled in their own end for the first 45 seconds of a power play, Robert Picard brought the puck out and Charron drilled it past Grahame from 40 feet away.
With 7:15 let in the game, Charron corralled a rebound of a Tom Rowe drive and fired it over the fallen Grahame. It was his 33rd goal and it brought the entire Washington team off the bench to offer congratulations.
His teammates' pounding was the prone Charron's first assurance that he had scored, to complete the first hat trick against Boston this season and the fourth of Charron's NHL career. Oddly, the first two, against Toronto and Oakland while playing with Detroit, came in the same week.
"I guess when one comes, I can look for the other," said Charron, laughing happily one more time in a season with a shortage of laughs. "I saw the third goal develop tonight and I saw the opening, but I didn't see the puck go in. I guess that's why I showed a little more enthusiasm when I got the hat trick against Cleveland. Getting one against Boston really means something, though. They're a skating team and a close-checking team and they don't give you many openings."
The Capitals played one of their best games of the season, skating well and playing the man effectively. Still, they almost wound up losers when Boston's Wayne Cashman, skating free down the middle, hit the crossbar with 3:10 left.
Washington was spared Boston pressure in the last two minutes when the Bruins' Bobby Schmautz started punching Capital Yvon Labre and wound up swinging from the penalty box at linesman Kevin Collins. That earned Schmautz an ejection, as well as an unsportsmanlike conduct minor that permitted Washington to close with an extra man.
Boston Coach Don Cherry, who usually berates the officials, outdid himself after that one, jumping on the players' bench and screaming at referee Andy Van Hellemond. After the first period, however, Cherry outdid any coach who has ever visited Capital Centre.
While his players looked on from below, Cherry climbed 25 flights of stairs and walked through a row of empty seats to exchange insults with a heckler, Bill Cummings of Woodbridge, Va.
"I just asked him what he wanted," Cherry said. "He's been asking me to come up for four years. One thing, it wasn't hard to get there. All the other seats in that row were empty. I didn't do my usual job of selling out the building."
Cummings, who hasn't missed a Capitals home game in four years, said, "I've invited him up here before, but it's the first time he was smiling, I knew he was mad. I called him a few things. One of them was "TV clown;' you can print that one."
Washington Coach Tom McVie, who has exchanged insults with Cherry before, said, "His remarks are old news now, but it sure would have been nice to beat them. It's difficult to get into an insulting match a guy in first place when you're in last place. I've got some good lines, but it's like a swearing match with a woman. When she tells you that four-letter word, you're done.