On December 31, 1980, the Capitals rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 in Winnipeg.
Dave Christian scored for the Jets at 11:28 of the first period. Morris Lukowich scored to give Winnipeg a 2-0 advantage at 17:06 of the first period. Washington put a dozen shots on Jets goaltender Markus Mattsson in the first while Winnipeg answered with 11 against the Capitals' Mike Palmateer.
Doug Smail gave the Jets a 3-0 cushion with a power play goal at 8:28 of the second period. Paul Mulvey finally put the Caps on the board with a goal at9:48 of the second. Ryan Walter and Dennis Ververgaert collected the assists on Mulvey's goal. The Caps managed only four shots in the second period but Winnipeg collected only three.
At 2:06 of the final period, Jean Pronovost pulled the Caps to within a goal of the Jets at 3-2. Dennis Maruk and Bob Kelly collected the assists on the Pronovost tally. At 4:32 of the third, Maruk tied the game with an unassisted goal. The Caps took the lead for good at 8:50 of the third on Pronovost's second goal of the night. Again, Maruk and Kelly earned the assists. Mike Gartner closed out the scoring for Washington with an empty netter at 19:49. Palmateer was credited with an assist on the Gartner goal. It was the sixth assist of the season for the diminutive Washington goaltender, tying an NHL mark for netminders. The Caps enjoyed a 17-8 advantage in shots on goal in the third period and outshot the Jets 33-22 on the evening.