On October 12, 1996, the Washington Capitals dropped a 4-3 decision to the Los Angeles Kings before a crowd of 12,297 at USAir Arena.
The game was bittersweet – the Capitals squandered a 3-0 first period lead and lost the game, but team captain Dale Hunter scored his 300th NHL goal.
Hunter’s goal – his first of the season – came at 3:04 of the first period and gave Washington a 1-0 lead. Richard Zednik and Joe Juneau were credited with assists. Just over two minutes later, Peter Bondra netted his third of the season to extend the Capitals’ lead to 2-0. At 8:45 of the first, Phil Housley continued his fast start with his third goal in four games, pushing Washington’s advantage to 3-0. Hunter earned an assist on Housley’s goal.
The Los Angeles comeback began at 14:08 of the first when former Capital Dmitri Khristich beat Jim Carey to cut the Washington lead to 3-1. Barry Potomski scored for the Kings at 18:33 to pull LA within a goal. Los Angeles held a 9-8 lead in shots on goal over the Caps at the end of the first period.
The Kings’ Mattias Norstrom tied the game when he netted the lone goal of the second period at the 4:03 mark. The Kings put nine shots on Carey in the second period while Washington countered with just six on LA’s Stephane Fiset.
The Kings completed their comeback when another former Capital supplied the final nail at 6:31 of the third. Journeyman defenseman John Slaney – the Caps’ first choice (ninth overall) in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft – beat Carey for the game-winner.
The Kings outshot the Caps 26-22 on the evening.