The Washington Capitals, clipped Vancouver, 5-3, tonight for their third victory on a five-game trip.

Referee Ron Hoggarth was the busiest skater on the ice, calling 100 minutes in penalties, including 72 during a wild third period in which Vancouver's Harold Snepsts -- and old Washington antagonist -- and big Paul Mulvey left with fighting majors and 10-minute misconducts.

The first three games between the teams this season produced 224 penalty minutes, including six fights.

The Caps, who won three of four games against Vancouver, tonight got goals from Ryan Walter, Alan Hangsleben, Pierre Bouchard, Mulvey and Mark Lofthouse. It was Washington's 100th victory since entering the National Hockey League in 1974-75.

Curt Fraser, with two, and Rick Vaive beat Wayne Stephenson for the Vancouver goals.

The Capitals took a 3-1 lead into the third period after scoring the only two goals of the second and weathering two prolonged stretches when they were two men short.

Hangsleben and Bouchard, who both performed brilliantly in front of Stephenson while the Caps went four minutes with two players in the penalty box, scored the goals to break a 1-1 tie.

Hangsleben, acquired last month from Hartford, slipped the puck into the open corner of the net after having collided with Vancouver goalie Glen Hanlon. Hangsleben circled the net after the collision and retrieved the puck, which Hanlon lost from his glove.

Bouchard got his second goal of the season on a 30-footer to the top right corner, after a neat setup by Walter while the teams were playing five a side.

Vancouver's Ivan Boldirev put the puck behind Stephenson while the Caps were two men short, but referee Ron Hoggarth disallowed the goal, ruling he had blown the whistle moments before.

The Caps found themselves two men short when Stephenson took cross-checking and slashing penalties, against Stan Smyl, during the 12th minute. With the defense blocking several shots, Stephenson had to make only two excellent stops during the manpower shortages.

He got an arm on a Thomas Gardin shot from close in, then kicked out Boldirev's point-blank try.

Walter and Curt Fraser had the only goals of a first period slightly dominated by the Caps.

Walter, Washington's leading point man, scored his 18th of the season on a three-on-one break at 10:30. He drilled a shot from the left faceoff circle that cleanly beat Hanlon.

But Frazer countered only 36 seconds later, finding the top lefthand corner with a wrist shot after accepting Smyl's drop pass.

Hanlon, who lasted only 30 seconds in the last meeting between the teams.