The Washington Capitals, who last week lacked a healthy goalie and a 1981 victory, have both now.
Rookie Dave Parro stopped 26 shots tonight as the injury-riddled Capitals snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over their Colorado Rockies cousins.
When the Caps entertain the high-scoring Los Angeles Kings Thursday night in Capital Centre, they might even have an oversupply of healthy goalies. Coach Gary Green thinks perhaps veterans Mike Palmateer and Wayne Stephenson will be well enough to play.
Where does that leave Parro, the emergency replacement who recorded his first victory since being summoned from Hershey of the American League?
"I don't know -- that's up to Max," Green said tonight. So, Parro could face another trip to Hershey, if Max McNab, the Capital general manager, so decides. But Green isn't worrying about that. He's glad to be ending the long road trip with a team that seems to be on the mend.
"Our blueline played very well tonight," he said. "Until tonight we haven't had a blueline. All we've had is Rick Green and three rookies."
The Capitals started well tonight as the teams did all of their scoring in the first period. Then they turned the job over to Parro, to a good defense and to some old Washington magic against the Rockies.
Both clubs came into the NHL at the same time, the Rockies in the form of the Kansas City Scouts. But the Capitals have had the whammy on the Rockies from the outset. They've won five of six points this year.
This time it was Dennis Maruk's 28th goal with just 56 seconds remaining in the first period that provided the eventual winning edge.
"I thought it was a very disciplined game by both sides," Green said in explaining the lack of scoring. "The ice was slow and ragged in spots, so you saw a lot of missed passes and things. But it was the same for both teams."
Washington got the jump on the Rockies with veteran forward Bob Kelly doing the heavy work behind the Colorado net. He worked the puck away from a Colorado defender, passed to Ryan Walter, stationed unattended in front of the Colorado goal, and Walter jammed it past goalie Hardy Astrom.
The Rockies gave the 5,476 in McNichols Sports Arena a brief thrill on Joel Quenneville's power play goal at 18:43.
But the Caps countered with Maruk's clincher just 21 seconds later.
Actually, it appeared as if defenseman Rick Smith got the goal. He took a pass from Dennis Ververgaert bided his time getting Astrom out of the net, then shot. It was deflected off Maruk's stick.
There were some chances, some good ones, in the final two periods but Parro and Astrom refused to yield.
The Rockies outshot the Capitals, 21-14, in the final two periods, but many were from long range and Parro handled all the tough ones.
Green admitted his young goaltender got plenty of help. Particularly, he was impressed with Smith's work. "You know we picked him up on waivers and he's just been a helluva player for us. There's no substitute for experience."
Smith and Pat Ribble have come off the injured list in the last three games and their experience has helped Green shore up the Cap defense.
Parro made his biggest stops against Colorado's best shooter, Lenny McDonald. MdDonald, the Rockies' leading scorer with 19 goals, unloaded a hard shot following a faceoff in the Washington end about the seven-minute mark of the final period. Not only did Parro handle that shot, he stopped a slap shot by Mike McEwen seconds later that wasn't easy.
The Capitals had an excellent opportunity at the 9 1/2 minute mark when Maruk and Kelly got loose on a two-on-one break. But Maruk may have exercised a bit too much care. As he tried to lure Astrom out of the goal, Quenneville stopped him from behind.
In improving their record to 14-18-11, the Caps beat the Rockies for the 13th time since the teams came into the NHL. They've lost to Colorado just nine times and tied five.