On February 12, 1980, the Washington Capitals beat the Los Angeles Kings by a 5-2 score at The Forum in LA. It was just the third win for Washington in 18 visits to The Forum.
Robert Palmer got Los Angeles on board first when he beat Washington netminder Wayne Stephenson at 5:44 of the first period. At 17:15 of the first period, Washington' Bengt Gustafsson was awarded a penalty shot, his second of the season and the ninth in team history. He failed to score, as he had on the first attempt some five weeks earlier. With less than a minute remaining in the first period, Ryan Walter scored to tie the game for Washington. Walter beat LA goaltender Ron Grahame with an assist from Mike Gartner at 19:07. Both the Kings and the Caps had nine shots on goal in the first period.
Charlie Simmer scored at 5:17 of the second to give the Kings a 2-1 lead. Walter evened it up again with a 5-on-3 power play tally at 9:11 of the middle frame, Bob Sirois and Gustafsson assisting. With Washington still on the power play less than a minute later, Rolf Edberg scored to give the Capitals a lead they would not relinquish. Antero Lehtonen and Walter picked up the assists on the go-ahead goal. The Caps took a 4-2 lead at 15:03 of the second when Sirois netted an unassisted goal. The Caps enjoyed a 15-3 advantage in second period shots on goal.
The two clubs played scoreless hockey in the third until the 19:53 mark when Washington's Mark Lofthouse iced it with an empty-netter on assists from Edberg and Pierre Bouchard. The Kings outshot the Capitals 7-4 in the third but the Capitals held a 28-19 advantage on the night.