For the first time in six games, the Washington Capitals were beaten tonight. Incredibly, for the second straight game, they lost three players.
Goaltender Dave Parro, who has played so brilliantly the last four weeks, suffered a dislocated left shoulder and will be out about a month, unless complications require surgery. Center Rolf Edberg suffered a broken jaw that must be wired, according to a Calgary physician. Center Guy Charron suffered a dislocated left shoulder, but it popped back in, and unless X-rays reveal a bone chip, he should be back in a week.
Parro departed with the score 1-1, and 2:03 remaining in the second period. His rusty successor, Wayne Stephenson, was beaten by Paul Reinhart on the first shot he faced and the Flames added three goals in the final period to win, 5-2.
Mike Gartner scored both Washington goals, running his season total to 29, and also turned in an outstanding backchecking performance. Twice he came speeding from behind to knock the puck away from Flames who had broken free in the Capitals end.
Parro reached up with his left hand, his catching hand, to block a shot by Kent Nilsson, then dove to his left to try to stop the rebound. He fell hard on the shoulder, which had been dislocated in a summer softball game. Then he rolled over and waved with his right arm while shouting for referee Andy Van Hellemond to stop play."
"I'm just part of the MASH unit now," Parro said. "The guy had the puck and was coming around and I tried to make a sliding save, but my shoulder hit too hard. It popped right out. It was numb and starting to get sore right away."
Charron and Edberg departed in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game, both victims of legal checks by the Flames' Phil Russell.
Charron was knocked against the boards and landed on the shoulder.
"When I got the shove, I fell right on the shoulder," Charron said. "Just before I got up, I heard a crunch and the doctor said that's when it went back in. I shouldn't be out long from what it looks, but they're going to take an X-ray tomorrow just in case the bone is chipped."
Edberg took a solid shoulder check to the left side of his face and the impact broke his right jawbone, according to X-rays taken before the game ended.
"I don't know what happened," Edberg said. "The pictures show it's broken and the doctor says they'll have to wire it up. I hope not."
Defensmen Pat Ribble and Howard Walker suffered bruised spleens during Tuesday's 3-3 tie in Vancouver and goalie Mike Palmateer suffered ligament damage to his left ankle in the same game.
Ribble was flown from Vancouver to Washington tonight and will be examined Friday by Dr. George Hajjar. Walker is due to be released Friday from a Vancouver hospital. Palmateer, watching tonight's game while manning the press-box phone, shook his head in disbelief and volunteered to play Saturday in Los Angeles.
"I hadn't planned to skate for four or five days, but now I'll get myself ready," Palmateer said. "It can't do any more damage."
Stephenson, who had been troubled by a bruised knee and a sore back, was making only his second appearance since Dec. 14. He relieved Palmateer Jan. 4, when Palmateer pulled a hamstring, and had been idle since. He was summoned to serve as back-up goalie after Palmateer was hurt Tuesday.
Reinhart hit from 45 feet on the only shot Stephenson faced in the second period, then the Capitals regrouped and had a good chance to pull even in the third when Wes Jarvis' pass sent Bengt Gustafsson in on a breakaway. However, Calgary goalie Rejean Lemelin, a standout all night, blocked Gustafsson's shot with his right pad.
Don Lever then scored twice to put the game out of reach, although Gartner added his second of the game on an assist from Dwayne Lowdermilk. Lowdermilk is one of two defensemen called up from Hershey to replace Ribble and Walker.
The other new backliner, Jay Johnston, provided one of the few bright lights for the Capitals on this awful evening. He blocked several Calgary shots, including one by Guy Chouinard with Parro out of the net, and played a solid checking game. He also fought big Willi Plett without embarrassing himself.
"I've been fighting it the last two days, telling myself not to get affected by playing with guys I've idolized for years," Johnston said. "I was a little tight a couple of shifts, but once things got going, I relaxed."
"I thought Jay really played his body well," said Washington Coach Gary Green. "His toughness was very inspiring to us. Considering the guys out, I didn't think we played badly. We played tight hockey and hung in there for quite a while.
"There's not much we can do about the injuries. We can't wave a magic wand and make them better. This franchise is due for some good luck."