Sharon Green presented husband Gary, the Washington Capitals' coach, with a 7-pound 15-ounce daughter today. Green's players, however, again were unable to give him his second victory of the season.
Mike Bossy's 250th NHL goal broke a 3-3 tie late in the second period and the New York Islanders dealt the Capitals their seventh straight defeat, 6-4. Bossy, playing his 315th game, became the fastest player to the 250 mark, erasing the record of old-timer Cy Denneny, who totaled 250 in a 326-game, 12-year career. Bossy had scored twice in the Islanders' 4-2 victory over Washington in Capital Centre Friday night.
Dennis Maruk scored twice for Washington, with Pat Ribble and Bengt Gustafsson collecting the other goals.
Maruk and Ribble gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes and the visitors had several chances to go three goals up. Instead, Duane Sutter and Wayne Merrick connected for the Islanders, two minutes apart late in the first period, and Washington never led again.
"We could have won that game tonight, but we didn't," Green said. He let the team know what he thought about losing it with a postgame lecture that stretched to the limit the 10-minute moratorium before the locker room must be opened to the media.
After the harrowing finish to last season, on top of the disappointment the previous year, General Manager Max McNab said, "It's a shame a 27-year-old coach had to become 47 in two years here." Green may have aged another 10 today.
After arriving here by charter plane following Friday's loss, Green was informed his wife had left for the hospital. He took the first shuttle back this morning, missing Melissa Ann's 7:45 a.m. arrival by 40 minutes.
Heading for National Airport in a taxi, Green was stranded when it ran out of gas and the driver dashed off in search of a service station. A police car stopped and the officer drove Green to the airport. Arriving in New York once more, Green was shunted from limo to limo until he took another taxi in anger and frustration.
Minutes before game time, Green learned that an arm infection would keep winger Bob Kelly out of the game and he named defenseman Timo Blomquist to make his first NHL start as a replacement. Right wing Todd Bidner, recalled from Hershey today, also made his NHL debut as Washington had six rookies in the starting lineup against the Stanley Cup champions. Jean Pronovost and Terry Murray joined Kelly in the stands and Ribble returned following a two-game enforced vacation.
"I can't fault the younger guys," Green said. "They're making some mistakes, but they're also giving us life. I won't change the game plan. We shot the puck more tonight than in the past and I can see improvement every night."
Washington had a 36-25 edge in shots, only the second time in nine games it has outshot an opponent. Bobby Carpenter, who had two assists, fired nine shots at goalie Roland Melanson, a team high this year, and Greg Theberge fired six.
Bossy has scored 22 goals in 18 games against Washington. He has nine goals this season and this was the first time his scores did not come in bunches of two.
After New York's John Tonelli and Gustafsson connected 24 seconds apart early in the second period, there was no scoring for 17 minutes. During that stretch, the Capitals had some chances they will not soon forget.
Carpenter blocked a Bob Nystrom shot and went in on a breakaway, only to be slashed from behind by ex-Capital Gord Lane. During the delay before referee Denis Morel blew his whistle, Gustafsson fired toward a seemingly empty net, but the puck hit Lane in the seat of the pants. Not long after, Melanson made an acrobatic save on Alan Hangsleben, the only man in the Capitals' lineup older than his 28-year-old coach.
Then Bossy broke behind defensemen Ribble and Howie Walker to take Bryan Trottier's pass. Goalie Dave Parro went down and appeared to make the save, but the puck trickled behind him and New York was in front to stay. The assist kept alive Trottier's record of scoring at least one point in every game this season.
Bourne made it 5-3 at 4:29 of the third period. Parro went behind the net to play the puck, lost it and scrambled back into the crease. Bourne took the puck and made a quick move in front to carom it off Parro for his fifth goal.