The Washington Capitals tried to celebrate Haworth Night at Capital Centre and failed. Instead, they had to settle for Jensen Night and a 5-3 decision over the Vancouver Canucks.
David Jensen, making his first appearance in a Washington uniform, scored his first NHL goal and did an adroit bit of screening to help Peter Andersson net another.
Goaltender Al Jensen blanked the Canucks for 53 minutes and came up with some outstanding saves while the score was close enough that it mattered.
With Washington enjoying a 5-0 lead and assured of victory, the team turned its full attention to the task of putting Alan Haworth's goal-scoring streak in double figures. Despite his mates' efforts, Haworth was unable to extend his club-record string of nine games with at least one goal.
In the process, the Capitals left Al Jensen to play defense virtually by himself and the Canucks were able to score three times.
"We tried to set up Howie and everything was based on Howie getting another goal," said Coach Bryan Murray. "I guess it's an example of how when you try to play to one individual's needs, it doesn't work.
"Everybody was passing up chances to feed Howie and some guys weren't coming back much to help out. A few players were upset. We have some guys who take pride in not giving up goals. But I think Howie deserved it."
Haworth, who assisted on Greg Adams' goal 90 seconds into the game, at least had an assist to give him points in 10 straight games. He was philosophical about the finish of the goal streak, which began after he had gone without one over the first seven games.
"It was nice while it lasted," Haworth said. "I didn't start the season expecting this to happen, and I just hope I can go on scoring goals, making plays and contributing to the team.
"It was fun tonight, because he was playing me every second shift and even when we were a man short, he told me to stay at the red line and wait for a breakaway."
Haworth had an excellent chance late in the second period, when goalie Richard Brodeur gloved a well-aimed shot with Adams hanging over him. The crowd of 12,248 responded with a sort of half-sigh, half-cheer, and afterward the noise grew whenever Haworth touched the puck.
"When he made that save, I figured this was the night it would end," Haworth said. "He made a really good save on that one. I appreciated the way the crowd reacted. It feels good to know they appreciate my play."
Despite his goal, which put Washington ahead to stay, Adams also had a streak end. He had earned an assist in seven straight games, one short of Ryan Walter's club record. With the goal, he has a point in nine in a row.
Bengt Gustafsson collected three assists and has a point in the last nine games in which he has played. Craig Laughlin, with an assist on a second-period power-play score by Dave Christian, takes a six-game assist streak into tonight's game at Boston. Christian's goal ended a string of 31 consecutive penalty kills by Vancouver's league-leading unit.
Laughlin cost Christian a second extra-man goal when he was penalized for interference against Brodeur after Christian had put the puck in the net. Since the Capitals were ahead by 3-0 at the time, Laughlin did not argue as loudly as he felt he might have otherwise.
"Their defenseman pushed me into him," Laughlin said. "When he pushed me, I got on the inside of Brodeur, because I knew our power play would pass the puck to the other side. We did and Brodeur lost his footing trying to get around me and Davy put it in. I never thought it might not count. If it was a closer game, I would have argued more -- and maybe he (referee Dave Newell) wouldn't have called it."
A sensational shorthanded goal by Bob Gould boosted Washington's lead to 3-0 in the second period. Gould stole the puck three times on one shift and the third time he put a backhander off the post at Brodeur's left and into the net.
Jensen was jumping to celebrate after Andersson's third-period goal made it 4-0. Less than four minutes later, he had far more reason to be ecstatic, as he took a headman pass from Gustafsson, drove for the net despite hooks and slashes by defenders Rick Lanz and Jiri Bubla, and caromed a shot off the post at Brodeur's right.
"I was real excited to get that goal," said Jensen, who last played March 23, when he suffered a serious knee injury. "I had a pretty good pounding, but you've got to be strong in this league and if I have to be strong, I'll be strong."
Watching Jensen's initial effort from the press box was Hartford General Manager Emile Francis, who dealt Jensen away after he had played parts of 13 games for the Whalers without scoring.
"I hope he liked my goal," Jensen said. "And I sure hope he doesn't get me back."
For a final touch, Dwight Schofield scored one of the quickest knockouts in Centre history, as a series of rights bloodied and decked the Canucks' Craig Coxe.