On January 24, 1979, Washington defeated the New York Rangers 5-1 at the Capital Centre. The win was Washington’s fourth straight at home, a new team record at the time.
Ryan Walter started the scoring for Washington at 13:18 of the first when he beat Rangers’ netminder John Davidson. New York’s Ron Duguay answered with 2:14 remaining in the first period. With Ranger defenseman Dave Farrish in the penalty box for tripping, Caps blueliner Robert Picard scored with just 14 seconds left in the first. Picard’s goal—assisted by Rick Green and Guy Charron—gave him 38 points on the season, a new Caps record for defensemen. Charron’s helper on the play made him the first Capital ever to reach the 200-point mark in a Caps sweater.
After Davidson was whistled for a delay of game minor midway through the second frame, Washington’s Greg Polis made him pay with a goal that gave the Caps a 3-1 edge. With 53 seconds remaining in the middle period, Picard’s second goal of the game pushed the advantage to 4-1. Tom Rowe scored the lone goal of the third period to give the Caps their final 5-1 margin of victory.
The Rangers mustered only 18 shots against Caps goaltender Gary Inness, and only three shots reached Inness in the second period. Linesman Matt Pavelich had to serve as referee at the start of the game as scheduled ref Bruce Hood was unable to make it to Washington on time. Hood arrived late and took over the referee chores at the start of the second period.