On October 18, 1980, the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers 8-2 in front of 13,790 spectators at the Capital Centre in Landover.
Washington got on the board first when Mike Gartner connected on a Capitals power play at 9:10 of the opening period. Dennis Maruk and Rick Green assisted. Maruk upped the lead to 2-0 when he netted a shorthanded goal with help from Jean Pronovost at 14:49. The Rangers then halved the lead on Ron Duguay's power play goal at 16:15. Maruk closed out first period scoring when he scored unassisted at 19:10. The Rangers fired 10 shots at Washington's Wayne Stephenson in the first while the Caps answered with eight on New York's Doug Soetaert.
At 9:58 of the second, Gartner struck for his second power play goal of the night, pushing to Caps lead to 4-1. Pronovost and Maruk earned the assists on Gartner's second goal. Just 102 seconds later, Gartner scored again to complete his hat trick, with Ryan Walter picking up the lone assist. At 17:12 of the second, Walter set up Gartner's fourth goal of the night to give Washington a commanding 6-1 lead. Washington outshot the Rangers 13-3 in the second period.
John Davidson replaced Soetaert in the New York nets at the start of the third. At 3:43, Bengt Gustafsson beat Davidson with help from Yvon Labre and Pierre Bouchard. Guy Charron scored Washington's sixth unanswered goal at 10:11 of the third with help from Alan Hangsleben and Gustafsson. New York's Phil Esposito scored with just 30 seconds remaining in the game to close out the evening's scoring. The Rangers outshot the Caps 8-7 in the third but Washington held a 28-21 lead in that category for the night.
Gartner's four goal-game was the fourth in Capitals history. He followed Stan Gilbertson, Tom Rowe and Maruk in achieving the feat. Gartner was the easy choice as the game's first star. With two goals and two assists, Maruk took second star honors. Pronovost, the third member of their line, picked up the third star with a pair of assists.