For the 15th time in the last 16 games, Dave Parro will be the starting goalie when the Washington Capitals play the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena (WDCA-TV-20 at 7:30).
When the Capitals return home for Sunday night's contest with the New York Islanders, however, Al Jensen is likely to be in the nets. It is one of the many things perplexing Coach Bryan Murray that Parro, who has played so well on the road, has been shaky at home.
Parro has not won a game at Capital Centre since Nov. 21, participating in two losses and three ties since. Jensen, meanwhile, is 4-0 at home; his only defeat came in Toronto.
"I guess people are beginning to think we have only one goaltender," Murray said yesterday. "Well, I expect to give Jensen his big test when we come back Sunday. We have to have better goaltending at home, and Davy knows that as well as you or I."
Parro cannot explain his superior road play, no more than Mike Palmateer could explain a similar predicament last season. There seems to be more pressure to do well at home, although neither goalie claims to be conscious of it.
Several Red Wings will be under pressure to produce more in tonight's game before the home folks. They are the principals in that big December trade with Buffalo: goalie Bob Sauve, defenseman Jim Schoenfeld and forwards Danny Gare and Derek Smith.
When they were acquired for forwards Dale McCourt, Mike Foligno and Brent Peterson, plus a future No. 1 pick, it was widely assumed that Detroit had locked up a playoff spot, and Buffalo would benefit in the future.
The Sabres, however, are leading the tough Adams Division, while Detroit is last in the weaker Norris Division, nine points behind fourth-place Winnipeg before the Jets played the New York Rangers last night.
Gare has only three goals and five assists in 15 games with Detroit, Smith two goals and five assists in 18 and Schoenfeld just three assists in 13.
Sauve has given Detroit its best goaltending of the season and it is hardly his fault that his record of 5-11-1 and 3.59 goals against compare unfavorably with the 6-1-5 and 2.76 he posted in Buffalo.
Detroit yesterday reduced its Smith corps by one-third, shipping winger Brad to Adirondack of the American League. Besides Derek, that leaves defenseman Greg, who came to the Wings from Minnesota with Don Murdoch in the deal for Detroit's No. 1 draft pick.