On December 21, 1975, the Washington Capitals absorbed what remains the worst beating in team history, a 14-2 thumping at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo.
The Sabres doubled up on the Caps that night, scoring twice in the first period, four times in the second and eight times in the third. Gilbert Perreault started the assault at 2:57 of the first period. The Sabres outshot the Caps 10-4 in the first, and held a 2-0 lead going into the second. Tony White scored for Washington at the 23-second mark to halve the Buffalo lead. But Buffalo scored three more times before the Caps notched their second goal. The Sabres outshot the Caps 18-9 in the second.
Things really got ugly in the third. Craig Ramsay’s goal at the 56-second mark gave Buffalo a 7-2 lead. It was the first of six goals the Sabres would score in a span of 8:42. Included in that spree were Rick Martin’s third and fourth goals of the game. Fred Stanfield closed out the scoring at 18:11 with his third goal of the game, thus marking the first time the Capitals had permitted a pair of hat tricks in the same game. Buffalo outshot Washington 22-3 in the third and 50-16 for the game.
Only three of the 17 Buffalo skaters who dressed failed to record a point that night.
It was also Tommy Williams’ last NHL game. Williams, who led Washington with 22 goals and 58 points in its first season, was in the throes of a scoring slump. Pointless in seven straight, he retired three days later.