On February 28, 1978, the Washington Capitals defeated the Colorado Rockies 7-4 before a crowd of 7,105 at the Capital Centre in Landover.
Randy Pierce put the Rockies on the board first when he beat Washington netminder Bernie Wolfe on a Colorado power play at 4:01 of the first period. Washington's Bill Riley scored on a power play at 9:25 to even the score at 1-1, Rick Green and Ace Bailey assisting. The Rockies re-took the lead on Ron Delorme's goal at 10:57. When Dennis Owchar scored for Colorado at 13:39, the Rocks went up by a pair. Washington got late goals from Mark Lofthouse and Bailey to pull even before the buzzer sounded at the end of the first period. Guy Charron and Bob Girard assisted on Lofthouse's goal; Riley got the lone assist on Bailey's tally. The Caps put a dozen shots on Colorado netminder Doug Favell in the first while the Rocks countered with eight against Wolfe.
At 4:23 of the second period, Washington went in front for the first time on Bugsy Watson's unassisted goal. Bailey scored his second of the game at 17:19 of the second to give Washington a 5-3 lead. Gerry Meehan and Gord Lane picked up the helpers. Ownchar's second of the game pulled the Rocks back to within one at 19:21. The Caps outshot the Rockies 15-7 in the second period.
Bailey completed his hat trick and registered his 100th point as a Capital with an unassisted goal at 7:38 of the third. Riley closed out the scoring with his second of the game at 18:02. The Rockies outshot Washington 15-9 in the final frame.
Bailey's hat trick was the sixth one in Washington history and the first in more than two calendar years. Prior to Bailey's three-goal effort, Tony White's February 21, 1976 hat trick had been the most recent by a Capital.