The Washington Capitals rolled up a 6-1 lead in the first 30 minutes of play, then hung on to outlast the Quebec Nordiques, 7-4, last night.
The crowd of 7,647 saw Capitals' right wing Eddy Godin, who played his junior hockey in this building, open the scoring with a unassisted goal at 0:45 of the first period. The Nordiques were able to answer that score with a power-play tally by Serge Bernier less than three minutes later, but the WHA skaters had no reply for the five goals that followed in the next 20 minutes.
Once blessed with a big lead, however, the Capitals let up and the Nordiques were quick to seize the initiative. Their final goal, by Real Cloutier at 16:18 of the third period, brought the margin to 6-4 and a Bob Sirois penalty 62 seconds later, had the crowd roaring in anticipation of a last-minute charge.
But Greg Carroll's empty net goal doused that hope and the Capitals were able to give goalie Bernie Wolfe his first exhibition season victory.
The Capitals, now 2-1-0 in exhibition play, will have an opportunity to avenge their lone defeat when they meet the New England Whalers tonight in Springfield, Mass.