The foundation for a season of ill will between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was laid here tonight during the Capitals' 5-2 exhibition victory.
The game was marked by three fights and several other exchanges of an even more dangerous character, notably a third-period incident in which Pittsburgh's Pat Boutette rapped Peter Andersson on the head with his stick.
The Penguins possess minimal talent and they are trying hard to please new Coach Lou Angotti by playing physical hockey. In a few cases, Boutette for example, they got carried away and Washington Coach Bryan Murray is not one to tell his team to back down and collect the two points without retaliation.
Later, Washington's Tony Camazzola elbowed Rocky Saganiuk, who jumped on Camazzola's back. Saganiuk slipped to the ice, where Camazzola punched his head a few times before he was pulled off. Murray was facing the Pittsburgh bench, laughing, when the players left the ice.
"What happens with a team like Pittsburgh is that they use their sticks a great deal and do a lot of reaching and you wind up with things like Boutette's swing that get a minor penalty, seemingly never a match or even a major," Murray said.
In other fights, Washington's Scott Stevens and the Penguins' Marty McSorley were ejected after a lengthy battle, and Paul MacKinnon tangled with Kevin McClelland of the Penguins.
Dave Christian scored twice for the Capitals, including the game winner late in the second period after Bengt Gustafsson won a faceoff from Mike Bullard in the Pittsburgh end. Bob Carpenter had scored short-handed on a breakaway 52 seconds earlier to create a 2-2 tie.
Rookies Mike Siltala and Butsy Erickson provided insurance goals in the third period.
Dave Parro went the distance in the Washington net and stopped an impressive 32 shots.