On January 31, 1982, the Washington Capitals downed the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 8-3 in front of a gathering of 9,650 at the Capital Centre in Landover.
Rookie sensation Bobby Carpenter put the Capitals on the board first with his 17th goal at 2:53 of the first period. Terry Murray and Rick Green picked up the assists. Less than six minutes later, the Penguins evened the game on a goal by George Ferguson. Washington regained a one-goal advantage on a goal by another rookie – Chris Valentine – at 13:53. Murray and Mike Gartner assisted on Valentine’s goal, which came on a Capitals power play. But Pittsburgh’s Mike Bullard tied the game on a Penguins’ power play at 15:14. Washington’s Tom Rowe tallied his fifth of the season to restore the Caps’ lead just 14 seconds after Bullard’s goal. Ryan Walter and Dennis Maruk assisted on Rowe’s goal, which would prove to be the final tally Rowe would net as a member of the Capitals. The Caps put 15 shots on Pittsburgh goaltender Michel Dion in the first while the Pens fired 11 on Washington netminder Dave Parro.
The Capitals opened up the game in the second period. Bengt Gustafsson scored at 3:04 to give Washington a more comfortable two-goal cushion. Carpenter and Gartner were credited with helpers on the Gustafsson goal. Maruk netted his 36th goal of the season at 6:05 on a Washington power play with help from Gartner and Darren Veitch. The power play goal is Maruk’s 16th power play tally of the season, tying his own club record.
Just 43 seconds later, Murray scored his third of the season. Torrie Robertson and Glen Currie assisted on what would prove to be the last of the four goals Murray scored in his 302-game NHL career. At this point, the Pens pulled Dion from the Pittsburgh nets in favor of backup Paul Harrison. Less than two minutes after stepping between the pipes, Harrison received his baptism by fire when Walter dented him for his 25th goal of the campaign. The Caps were up by 7-2 at that stage. Washington outshot Pittsburgh 11-2 in the middle stanza.
Bullard scored at 4:04 of the third for the Pens and Gartner closed out the game’s scoring with his 19th of the season at 13:52 for Washington. Gustafsson and Carpenter collected the assists on the game’s final goal. The Pens outshot the Caps 11-6 in the third but Washington outdistanced Pittsburgh in that category 32-24 for the game.
With a goal and two assists, Murray took first star honors. Green was named the game’s second star; he had one assist and was a plus-4 on the evening. Walter’s goal and assist were enough to get him the third star designation.