On March 30, 1976, the Washington Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings by a 5-3 score before 8,036 fans at the Capital Centre in Landover.
The first period was scoreless, with a single minor penalty whistled against each side. Detroit had a huge advantage in shots on goal, firing 13 against Washington's Bernie Wolfe. The Caps mustered only two against Red Wings' goaltender Eddie Giacomin.
It took the Red Wings only 19 seconds worth of second period time to grab the lead. Dennis Polonich beat Wolfe to give Detroit the advantage. The Capitals responded at the 1:22 mark of the second on a goal by Mike Lampman. Lampman's unassisted strike came against Detroit netminder Eddie Giacomin and tied the score at 1-1. The Capitals took their first lead of the game at 9:45 of the middle period when Gerry Meehan scored with help from Jean Lemieux and Harvey Bennett. At 13:27 of the second, Rick Bragnalo scored for the Caps to push the lead to 3-1. Nelson Pyatt got the lone assist on the Bragnalo goal. Lampman scored his second unassisted tally of the game at 16:59. Washington's fourth unanswered goal made it 4-1 in favor of the home team. The Caps outshot the Wings 13-10 in the second period.
Halfway through the third period, the Red Wings began to mount a comeback. At 10:14, Barry Salovaara scored for Detroit to make it 4-2, Washington. Just over a minute later, Dan Maloney tallied for the Red Wings to shave the Capitals lead to one goal. At 14:15 of the third, Meehan iced the game with his second goal of the night, Ace Bailey assisting. The Caps held on for a 5-3 win. Washington held an 11-9 advantage in third period shots on goal but Detroit outshot the Caps 32-26 on the evening.