This Date In Washington Capitals History: On October 9, 1974, the Washington Capitals made their NHL debut. The Caps dropped a 6-3 decision to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Ron Low started in goal for Washington, going up against future Hall of Famer Eddie Giacomin for the Rangers. The Capitals started the scoring at 5:06 of the first period when Jim Hrycuik netted the first goal in franchise history and his first in the NHL. Hrycuik's goal was unassisted. Washington's lead was short-lived; New York's Greg Polis knotted the game at 1-1 just 37 seconds after the Hrycuik goal. New York outshot Washington 14-5 in the first period.
The Capitals regained the lead with the first power play goal in franchise history at 9:32 of the middle period. Ron Anderson scored to put the Caps ahead; Denis Dupere and Greg Joly picked up the first assists in Washington Capitals history on the play. But just over three minutes later, the Rangers got the equalizer. With both Joly and Bill Mikkelson in the penalty box for Washington, the Rangers enjoyed a two-man advantage. New York defenseman Brad Park tallied to even the score and the second period ended with the two teams tied at 2-2. The Rangers held a 10-6 advantage in second period shots on goal.
New York went on top for the first time at 1:11 of the first period when Rick Middleton beat Low. The resilient Caps answered back just 32 seconds later,tying the game at 3-3 on a goal by Dave Kryskow. Bruce Cowick and Hrycuik picked up the helpers on Kryskow's goal.
From that point on, it was all New York. The Caps would not register another shot on goal after Kryskow's strike. Polis netted his second of the game on a New York power play at 3:44 of the third. Middleton picked up his second of the game at 16:13 and Rod Gilbert closed out the scoring with a goal at 19:31. The Rangers outshot the Caps 19-1 in the third period and 43-12 on the night.
This was the Opening Night lineup for the Capitals in first game played in franchise history: Goaltenders: 1-Ron Low, 31-Michel Belhumeur; Defensemen:2-Doug Mohns, 3-Greg Joly, 4-Bill Mikkelson, 5-Joe Lundrigan; 6-Gord Smith;Forwards: 9-Dave Kryskow, 10-Gord Brooks, 11-Jack Egers, 12-Ron Anderson, 14-Tommy Williams, 15-Denis Dupere, 16-Mike Marson, 20-Bill Lesuk, 23-Mike Bloom, 25-Jim Hrycuik, 26-Andre Peloffy, 27-Bruce Cowick.