Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Bob Girard hadn't scored a goal since the Washington Capital's opening game on Oct. 11. Yet there he was on the ice Saturday night, with the Capitals down 5-4 and the advance guard of the season's largest Capital Centre hockey crowd of 13,542 climbing toward the exits. And, with the aid of a superb play by Rolf Edberg, Girard finally netted No. 2 and created both bedlam and a 5-5 tie with the Boston Bruins.
Girard collected the puck near the right-wing boards and passed to Edberg at the inner edge of the left-wing circle. Edberg clung to the puck while defenseman Mike Milbury went down and goalie Gerry Cheevers committed himself. Then he slipped the puck to Girard, unguarded barely outside the crease.
"Even I couldn't miss that one," Girard said. "(Coach) Dany Belisle had intuition about that goal, I guess. I've been missing so many I didn't think I'd score another goal this year. I was waiting there two seconds, hoping Rolf would see me, and he did. If I'd missed it, I would have kept going right out the door and never come back."
The Capitals responded to unaccustomed crowd noise by scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes. Mark Lofthouse connected on a 40-footer after Ryan Walter outdrew veteran Jean Ratelle on a faceoff in Boston ice. Then Bob Sirois, the VItamin E man, coverted a perfect setup from Guy CHarron for his eight goal, which also marked the end of the night's work for the starting Boston goalie, Gilles Gilbert.
Gerry Cheevers replaced Gilbert and, 15 seconds later, was awarded a delay of game penalty for grabbing a routine shot by Tom Rowe and failing to play the puck. Washington had a two-man advantage for 82 seconds with Rick Smith bounced for slashing, but it was not until two seconds after Smith's penalty expired that Walter made it 3-0 on a rebound of a shot by Dennis Maruk.
Twenty-three seconds later, Boston got on the board, with Smith netting a rebound of a Bobby Schmautz shot. Before the first period ended, the Bruins battled to 3-2, Don Marcotte scoring shorthanded after Rick Middleton stole the puck from surprise point man Gord Lane.
Pete Scamurra scored Washington's first shorthanded goal 16 seconds into the second period to make it 4-2. Girard borke down the middle with Greg Carroll on his right, faked a pass to Carroll and instead shoveled it left to the speeding Scamurra, who shot just inside the far post.
"I could hear Peter yelling and I knew he'd be there," Girard said. "We've been working on getting behind them so they won't be so cocky at the blue line."
Boston pulled to 4-3 when Washington goalie Bernie Wolfe, after making a fine save on Terry O'Reilly, tried to play the puck to the boards, it hit O'Reilly's stick and Al Secor shoved it into the net.
"I had it in my golve and the ref (Bob Kilger) says to move it or take a penalty," Wolfe expalined. "I probably should have taken the penalty, but I saw an opening and tried to move it. Then O'Reilly fell, his stick hit the ice and the puck hit his stick and came back."
The wedge established, Boston quickly pushed into the lead. Peter McNab tied at 4-4 after Wolfe had made three saves within ten seconds then O'Reilly fed Bob Miller cutting in for the go-ahead score 47 seconds before the second intermission.
Boston controlled play through much of the third period, striking two posts and forcing Wolfe to make at least one sensational save, on McNab, before Girard and Edberg teamed for the tie.
"It always seems when you hit a post or two, they come back and score," said Boston Coach Don Cherry. "But I'll say this, that's a fair-improved club, the best Washington team I've seen here since I've beein in the league. I'am amazed how good they played."
Cherry exchanged taunts with fans, climbed on to the bench to scream at Kilger and leaned over the glass separting the team benches to jaw with Washington's Bryan Watson.
Belisle, seeking equal time, stood on the bench to berate Kilger for failure to call a penalty on Boston's Al Sims, who caught the puck and skated 15 feet before dropping it.
"I just want to be equal," Belisle said. "Don Cherry's a good coach, he's well respected and he runs a good ship. He keeps the referees and linesmen honest. How does a rookie like me get into the league?"
As the game ended, Walter ducked an elbow from Schmautz and the teams milled around for some time, Belisle demanding a penalty call and Kilger trying to persuade both teams to depart.