In the final period last night, the Washington Capitals outshot the Boston Bruins, 16-4. Several other Washington attempts either hit a goalpost or slipped inches wide. The result of this one-sided play was a goal for each team and the completion of a 5-2 Boston victory at Capital Centre.

The Bruins were missing three regular defenseman -- Brad Park, Gary Doak and Mike Milbury -- but it was not until the third period that the Capitals were able to apply pressure to their replacements, youngsters such as Raymond Bourque, 18, and Brad McCrimmon, 20.

Washington never was able to handle veteran Boston defender Dick Redmond, who collected four assists and was easily the outstanding player on the ice. Terry O'Reilly netted two of the Bruins' goals, both on deflections of Redmond shap shots.

"If Redmond plays like that every night, "I'm going to score a lot of goals this year," O'Reilly said.

This was the 25th meeting of the teams and the Capitals are still searching for their first victory, although they have managed five ties. They are still looking for their first points of this season after two games and will need a maximum effort to get them tonight as they continue their suicidal October schedule in New York against the Rangers.

The Bruins took advantage of errant passes by Leif Svenson and Tom Rowe to score twice in the last two minutes of the first period and John Wensink made it 3-0 before Washington's Dennis Maruk recorded the first goal against Boston in five periods this season.

Boston's adroit power play made it 4-1 before the second period ended and the home-opening crowd of 15,236 was not expecting much more than a routine. Capital collapse when mayhem suddenly erupted as the players left the ice.

Washington's Dennis Hextall and Boston's Rick Smith used their sticks like fencing swords against each other's chests and then the Bruins' Al Secord charged into Hextall. When the officicals shoved Hextall into the runway near the Washington dressing room, Hextall was pursued by goalie Gerry Cheevers and muscleman Stan Jonathan.

Hextall belted Jonathan before order was restored and he and Smith were assessed spearing majors, It was just one more episode in the Boston-Hextall vendetta, which date back to Hextall's smashing Doak against the glass in Detroit 18 months ago, with a fractured cheekbone resulting.

Early in the third period, Jonathan became embroiled with Washington captain Ryan Walter and then pitched battle seemed to give the Capitals some life. Rookie Errol Rausse rebounded a Buy Charron shot to cut Boston's lead to 4-2 and Washington fowards were buzzing around Cheevers in search of more honey.

O'Reilly and Walter started rough-it up, then wound up leaning on each other watching Hextall and Jonathan slug it out. Those two were chased after some hard punching and the players turned their attention to another rousing battle in the stands.

Cheevers made a couple of big saves on Pengt Gustafsson and Rowe, Walter and Wensink exchanged some more punches and then O'Reilly deflected a Redmond drive past Wayne Stephenson to send the fans streaming for the exits.

Each team played with five defensemen almost all the way, the Bruins by design and the Capitals because Pierre Bouchard suffered a pulled groin muscle in the first period. Yvon Labre probable will replace him tonight.

Walter, his face bruised in several areas, acknowledged that he hoped a good fight might inspire his teammates after "Jonathan came off the boards with his stick high. He was as good as any. But Gerry (Cheevers) jabbed me with his stick on the last one and when I came back, Wensink was in the way."

The Capitals used new lines, with Guy Charron centering Walter and Mike Cartner, Maruk working between Greg Polis and Rowe, and Rolf Edberg between Bob Sirois and Gustafsson.