On Jan. 2, 1989 the Capitals hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Monday matinee match before a sellout crowd of 18,130 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Md.
It didn’t go well for the visitors as the Caps romped to an 8-0 whitewash win.
Caps defenseman Scott Stevens supplied all the offense Washington would require on this day just 62 seconds after the opening puck drop. Stevens’ power-play marker came on a single assist from Larry Murphy, and it was scored while the Penguins’ Jay Caufield was sitting out an early high-sticking minor.
Stevens’ goal was the lone tally of the first stanza. The Caps outshot the Pens 10-5 in the first 20 minutes.
The Caps opened the floodgates in the second, scoring five times to chase beleaguered Pittsburgh netminder Tom Barrasso to the bench. Mike Ridley potted an unassisted goal at 4:50 of the second to make it 2-0. Bengt Gustafsson notched a power-play goal just 67 seconds later, Kevin Hatcher and Stevens assisting. Bobby Gould – with help from John Druce and Lou Franceschetti – scored at 6:25 to send Barrasso to the bench. Gould’s goal was Washington’s third in a span of just 95 seconds.
Frank Pietrangelo came on to relieve Barrasso, but fared no better. Dave Christian’s goal at 7:38 of the second made it a 5-0 game. Ridley collected the single assist on Washington’s fourth goal in just 2:48. Gustafsson’s second of the game was Washington’s fifth goal of the second period. Coming on the power play at 11:46 with help from Christian and Murphy, Gustafsson’s goal ran the score to 6-0. The Caps enjoyed a 14-6 advantage in shots on goal in the second period.
Christian scored his second of the game at 2:22 of the third with Dale Hunter and Neil Sheehy assisting. Geoff Courtnall closed out the scoring at 10:24 with help from Mike Gartner and Ridley. The Caps poured it on Pietrangelo in the third, outshooting the Penguins 21-3 in the frame and 45-14 on the afternoon.
The undisciplined Pens were shorthanded 10 times during the game, and the Caps cashed in on three of those power-play opportunities.
Penguins superstar Mario Lemieux – a longtime Caps nemesis – was neutralized with just one shot on net and a minus-3 on the day.
Pete Peeters had an easy afternoon in net for Washington to earn the shutout, but he barely broke a sweat and didn’t figure at all among the game’s three stars. Stevens (five shots on net, GWG and a plus-3) was the game’s first star. Gustafsson earned second star honors and Franceschetti was the third star.