The Washington Capitals are counting on their British Columbia contingent to provide its usual scoring punch in tonight's contest against the Vancouver Canucks at Pacific Coliseum (WTOP-1500, 11 p.m.).
Washington has won three of its last four games in Vancouver and each time a B.C. resident has provided the key goals.
Mark Lofthouse, from suburban New Westminster, has his only National Hockey League hat trick on Dec. 9, 1978, when the Capitals won, 7-5, for their first victory in Canada.
Paul Mulvey, from Merritt, B.C., scored twice, including the game winner, as the Capitals prevailed, 6-2, on March 2, 1979. Mulvey also produced the winner on the Capitals' last visit, a 5-3 success on Feb. 16. Ryan Walter, from suburban Burnaby, had the first goal that night and Lofthouse provided the insurance score.
Lofthouse is not making this trip. He has spent the entire season in Hershey, where last weekend he collected five goals in two games for the first-place Bears. After a frigid start, Lofthouse now has 13 goals.
Joining Walter and Mulvey as Capitals with B.C. backgrounds are winger Archie Henderson, who played his junior hockey across the Strait of Georgia in Victoria, and winger Dennis Ververgaert, who spent five seasons with the Canucks before being traded to Philadelphia.
Four other Capitals from Western Canada will be in the lineup tonight, including three of the team's five defensemen. Darren Veitch and Jim McTaggart are Saskatchewan natives, while Howard Walker and center Tim Tookey come from Alberta.
Defenseman Yvon Labre, who missed Saturday's game in Montreal bacause of a bruised right instep, is expected to play tonight.
The Capitals' trip continues Wednesday in Winnipeg and Saturday in Minnesota. They return home Sunday for a 7 p.m. Capital Centre game against Philadelphia, for which thousands of good seats remain available.