On October 14, 1979, the Capitals defeated the New York Rangers 5-3 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Washington's win came despite New York's decisive advantage in shots on goal, 46-26.
The Rangers peppered Capitals goalie Gary Inness with 20 shots in the first period while Washington mustered only five of its own. The Rangers' Jocelyn Guevremont scored the lone goal of the session with 39 second remaining. Guevremont's goal - assisted by Ulf Nilsson and Ron Greschner - came on a five-on-three power play.
At the 1:58 mark of the second period, Washington's Dennis Maruk scored a power play goal to knot the score at 1-1. Just a minute and four seconds later, Maruk tallied again to give the Capitals the lead. Nilsson scored a power play goal for the Rangers at 5:32 to tie the game again, but Maruk's third goal in 6:57 game him a hat trick and the Capitals the lead. Washington's Rolf Edberg closed out the second period scoring at 11:26. He beat New York's Wayne Thomas, pushing the Washington lead to 4-2. The Caps enjoyed a 17-14 edge of New York in second period shots on goal.
Just 24 seconds into the third period, Anders Hedberg drew the Rangers to within one goal. The Rangers outshot the Caps 12-4 in the period but there was no scoring until Maruk scored his fourth of the night into an empty net with four second remaining.
Maruk became the third player in Capitals history to score four goals in a game. Stan Gilbertson first accomplished the feat against Pittsburgh on April 6, 1975. Tom Rowe - who assisted on two of Maruk's four goals - scored four goals for the Caps in a game against St. Louis on March 10, 1979.