In the frustration that followed the Washington Capitals' 5-2 loss to Philadelphia Tuesday, winger Bob Girard vowed that, "We'll win our next five games."
A slightly started expression prompted Girard to add, "Don't laugh. We should have beaten these guys tonight and we're going to beat the next five -- Buffalo, Colorado, Vancouver, Detroit and Pittsburgh."
Unfortunately for Girard's forecast, a Tuesday visit to the New York Islanders is sandwiched between home contests against Vancouver and Detroit. Nevertheless, his confidence is worthy of mention, because it reflects the new attitude of a long-down-trodden hockey team.
The Capitals, since Gary Inness' emergence as a first-class goaltender, no longer skate onto the ice wondering whether they will find a new way to blow a game. They enter each battle expecting to win.
The Capitals play in Buffalo tonight (WDCA-TV-20, 8 p.m.) and they will face another tough goaltender. Don Edwards blanked the Capitals here Nov. 11 and ranks fifth in the NHL with a 2.68 goals-against mark.
Washington's overworked defense corps will be strengthened by the return of Rick Green, who suffered a bruised left knee Jan. 3. Although the knee is still painful, Green was given a green light because it has reached the stage where another bump won't aggravate it.
Robert Picard, who set a club record Tuesday by scoring in his 10th straight game, also suffered a charley-horse and a bruised elbow. He is questionable tonight, although the odds are good that he will at least try to play.
The Capitals (Word Illegible) following (Word Illegible) Abe Pollin. Six defensemen (Word Illegible) trip, along with right wing (Word Illegible) Bergeron, who has not played since Dec. 27. Right wings Bill Riley and Mark Lofthouse joined defenseman Bryan Watson in the left-out category.