The Washington Capitals returned from Sweden today with a big trophy and a small case of jet lag. The travel-time weariness proved no obstacle as the Capitals scored nine more points than the Redskins in a 9-4 exhibition victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Dennis Maruk, whose overtime goal beat the Minnesota North Stars in Stockholm, scored three times and Mike Gartner added a pair. Helping with singles were Pat Ribbie, Paul Mulvey, Guy Charron and Jean Pronovost Maruk and Charron scord with Washington shorthanded.
Gartner's goals came 19 seconds apart early in the first period and the Capitals led the rest of the way. Three times Pittsburgh got within one goal, but just as the jet lag figured to flatten the Capitals, Washington scored five third-period goals.
"We knew we were a better club than they were," Maruk said. "Lucky goals kept them in the game and we got a little sluggish with the lead, but we knew we could play a lot better.
"Being together in Sweden really helped this team. If we went anywhere, we went together and we started to pat each other on the back. We learned to communicate with each other."
Gartner had missed the final game in Sweden because of a high fever and he was eager to make amends here.
"I should have been flying after four days' rest," Gartner said. "I had to stay in bed from Wednesday night on. Most of us slept on the plane and the jet lag didn't seem as bad coming back as going over there."
Two Pittsburgh scores came with Washington goalie Mike Plamateer either off balance or out of the net. On two other occasions, Palmateer was away from the crease when Capital defenders Darren Veitch and Yvan Labre rescued him with supurb saves.
"I saw him out, so I figured if they got the puck I'd better cover the net," Labre said. "Most of the time he'll beat the guy to the puck. He helps us a lot. He'll make the play and get a guy off our backs."
"I just acted by instinct," said rookie Veitch, who stopped a Mike Bullard drive after Palmateer dived to knock the puck off Peter Lee's stick. "If you see the goalie out, you cover up. It doesn't happen often."
Veitch will learn that it does happen more frequently with Palmateer -- an exciting, active goalie -- than with others who stay close to home.
"Mike is not totally accustomed to our defense," said Coach Gary Green. "There were some problems, mostly of timing, but it's better to make the mistakes now. We can adjust easily and having a goaltender who can move the puck for you is like having another defenseman."