Tom McVie has always preached the gospel that extra effort wins hockey games. Tonight, in his first encounter with his old club, the Washington Capitals, McVie and his Winnipeg Jets were victimized by extra effort.
Goaltender Wayne Stephenson blocked 31 shots in a 60 minute performance and Robert Picard and Leif Svensson were 40 minute stalwarts for an injury riddled defense as the Capitals ground out a 6-3 exhibition victory.
"We've got some workers, but it takes talented workers to win," a dejected McVie said afterward. His Avco Cup champions of last spring lost seven players to National Hockey League clubs as the price of merger and, McVie said, "They don't make it easy for you."
Stephenson and his overworked defense were the difference on a night when Winnipeg's workers held a 34-16 advantage in shots. The Capitals dressed only four defensemen and Gord Lane's penchant for drawing penalties forced his colleagues -- Picard, Svensson and Jack Lynch -- into overtime.
Picard began the game with a mouthguard protecting a badly cut lip, but he discarded it late in the first period because he had difficulty seeing. When Lane drew a major penalty of spearing, Picard and Svensson stayed on the ice so long that a timeout was called to rest them.
Picard eventually joined Lane in the box for interference, but Svensson was unrelieved for the full five minutes. During that time, Stephenson made some remarkable saves.
"I knew this would be a tough game and I tried to pace myself, not carry the puck so much," Picard said. "I wanted to beat him (McVie), to show him we had a better hockey team. I knew he wanted to beat us so bad. It doesn't mean anything in the standings, but there's satisfaction for all of us. He got those guys ready for us and we beat them with hard work."
"It was time for us to start getting in there a full 60," Stephenson said of the Capitals' first route-going performance in the nets. "You have to get the feel of it. Thirty minutes is fairly easy."
Six players scored for Washington. Mike Gartner deflected a Lynch slap shot and Rolf Edberg converted a snappy pass from Errol Rausse to give the Capitals a 2-1 margin over former Washington goalie Garry Smith after 30 minutes.
Relief netminder Markus Mattsson yielded three, to Tom Rowe following a bit of forceful digging by Greg Polis, to Rausse on a fine setup by BengtAke Gustafsson and to Dennis Maruk (shorthanded) on another Gustafsson sparkler. Polis concluded the scoring on an empty net.
The Capitals were missing defensmen Rick Green and Pete Scamurra with pulled leg muscles, Paul MacKinnon with a bruised wrist and Yvon Labre with a bruised arm. Pierre Bouchard had returned to Montreal to settle some business affairs and young Jim McTaggart, summoned from Billings as an emergency replacement, failed to appear because a door fell off his plane as it taxied for takeoff in Bismarck, N.D.
Still, it was a tougher night for McVie, who said as he watched the warmup, "I've had to catch myself. I wanted to tell them (the Capitals) to get going and then I realized it was the wrong team."