Dave Parro threw the Washington goaltending situation into confusion tonight. Virtually consigned to Hershey in preseason speculation, the 22-year-old Parro played 30 minutes of flawless hockey to carry the Capitals to a 2-1 exhibition victory over the New York Rangers.
Parro blocked only 11 shots but many were most difficult. Four came in quick order while the Rangers used their only power play to apply pressure for a tie midway through the third period.
Then, after New York pulled goalie Steve Baker for a sixth skater with 70 seconds left, Parro stopped Dean Turner and Lucien DeBlois in the last few moments to preserve Washington's second straight exhibition success.
Tom Rowe, the leading Cap scorer a year ago, produced both goals in this one and flirted with a hat trick throughout the third period.
Washington's first power-play opportunity resulted in the game's first score. Bengt-Ake Gustafsson, playing the right point, drilled a shot that Rowe deflected past Ranger veteran Wayne Thomas.
Don Maloney pulled the Rangers even at the one-minute mark of the second period against Gary Inness, but Rowe struck again late in the second period. The Capitals' hardest shooter displayed his specialty, blasting one past Baker from the outer edge of the right-wing circle.
In the third period, with Maloney off for hooking, Rowe hit the goalpost with one drive and was foiled by Baker after Greg Polis sent his in alone. Seconds before the Rangers' final flurry, Rowe missed the empty net from a reasonable angle on the right wing.
The Capitals obviously were weary in the last stages, as many of them were completing their eighth hockey game in five days. Parro, however, compensated for all letdowns in front of him.
The Capital defense, although aligned somewhat differently, proved just as effective as it had in Friday's 7-3 triumph over Pittsburgh, Pete Scamurra dressed in Gord Iane's place tonight and played capably alongside Pierre Bouchard. Robert Picard was paired with Leif Svensson, while Rick Green stayed with Paul MacKinnon.
Absent from the Capitals' lineup with minor ailments were Bob Sirois, slight hamstring pull; Gary Rissling, infected foot, and Antero Lehtonen, Broken finger.
In a preliminary, the Rangers' rookies embarrassed the Washington rookies, 7-0, with Boston University product John Corriveau scoring twice.