On March 6, 1997, the Capitals beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche by a 6-3 score before a sellout crowd of 18,130 at USAir Arena.
Playing in his second game as a Capital after joining the team in a March 1 trade with the Bruins, Adam Oates scored his second goal as a Capital and his 20th of the season at 7:40 of the first period. Colorado’s Peter Forsberg answered at 19:53 of the period to send the clubs to the locker room deadlocked at 1-1. The Caps outshot the Avs 15-11 in the first.
Peter Bondra gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 5:05 of the second period with his 37th goal of the season. Colorado’s Mike Ricci answered at 6:12 but the Caps’ Michal Pivonka netted his fifth of the season on the power play at 7:06 to restore the Washington lead. Just 31 seconds later, Colorado’s Valery Kamensky scored to tie the game at 3-3. Bondra beat Colorado netminder Craig Billington on a power play at 11:37 to give the Caps the lead for good. Bondra completed his hat trick at 13:50 to give Washington its first two-goal cushion of the night. The Avalanche held the advantage in shots at 12-9 in the middle frame.
Bondra scored his fourth goal of the game and his 40th of the season on a Washington power play at 8:37 of the third period. It was Bondra’s ninth career hat trick, the third four-goal game of his career and the fourth time he had scored more than three goals in a game.
Newly acquired netminder Bill Ranford won his second game in as many starts for Washington.