Two power-play goals by Ryan Walter, on Washington's only extra-man chances of the game, carried the Capitals to a 5-3 victory tonight over Oulu Karpat, Finland's national champion.
The game, played before 6,000 fans, replaced the annual all-star contest that precedes the start of the Finnish season, scheduled for Sunday.
The Finns have been practicing together since July 23 and they came out strong, building a 2-0 lead on goals by Pekka Tooketo and Jura Tookimaa.
Lou Franceschetti, on a cross-ice pass from Dennis Maruk, scored the Capitals' first goal at 16:26, as they dominated the last seven minutes and outshot Karpat for the period, 15-5.
After a power-play score by Hannu Arrvirta made it 3-1 early in the second period, Alan Hangsleben connected at 9:05 on assists from Tim Tookey and Glen Currie. Then another close-in pass by Maruk freed Walter for the tying goal at 11:47.
Walter sent Washington ahead to stay on an unassisted score with 44 seconds left in the period. Greg Theberge closed out the scoring with a shot from the right point at 17:23 of the final period, one of the few times in the last 20 minutes the Capitals were not killing a penalty.
Although receiving 40 minutes in penalties to the Finns' 10, the Capitals outshot their hosts, 34-21. Washington was assessed 15 minors, three of them coincidental, and a misconduct. Bobby Carpenter received a minor and misconduct, under international rules, for butt ending in the third period.
In killing 10 of their 12 short-handed situations, including two five on threes in the final period, the Capitals received excellent work from defensemen Rick Green and Paul MacKinnon, and forwards Orest Kindrachuk, Currie, Hangsleben, Roland Stoltz and Bengt Gustafsson. Goalie Mike Palmateer played the full 60 minutes.
The Capitals fly home Friday and meet the Pittsburgh Penguins at Hershey, Pa.; Sunday at 2:30 p.m.