After two seasons among the elite teams in the National Hockey League, the Washington Capitals have run into rough times in the early going this season.
The Capitals, who lost their first three games, finally won one Wednesday night at Toronto, 6-5. Although they were playing the team with the worst record in the 1984-85 season, it was anything but easy.
Mike Gartner's dramatic power-play goal with just four seconds left in regulation pulled the Capitals even, and just 47 seconds into overtime, Gaetan Duchesne scored from point-blank to win it.
The Capitals dominated most of the game, but when Tom Fergus scored halfway through the third period, the Maple Leafs took the lead. Until Gartner scored, after the Capitals had pulled their goaltender for a 6-4 edge in skaters, it appeared that the Maple Leafs would win their second game in four starts.
The Maple Leafs' Rick Vaive had a hat trick, scoring three goals in the first 12 1/2 minutes of the first period.
Buffalo 5, Montreal 0--Tom Barrasso, the outstanding goalie in the league the past two seasons, is off to another solid start.
In this game at Montreal, Barrasso stopped 25 shots to register his first shutout and third win in a row. He has yielded a total of three goals in the three games.
Sean McKenna scored the first goal and assisted on three others.
Edmonton 6, New York Islanders 4--The Oilers jumped off to a 3-0 lead early in the game at Edmonton but needed a goal by swift-skating Glenn Anderson to break a 4-4 tie in the third period and win their third in a row.
The Islanders, who scored four times in the second period, outshot the Oilers, 36-32.
Mark Napier assisted on all three Oiler goals in the first period. Anderson and defenseman Paul Coffey each had two goals for the Oilers.
St. Louis 2, Calgary 1--Defenseman Ric Nattress scored the winning goal with 3:37 left at Calgary to give goaltender Rick Wamsley his eighth victory in nine games against the Flames. It was the Flames' first loss after two victories, but the fourth time in a row the Blues have beaten them.
Winnipeg 4, Detroit 3--Paul MacLean scored two goals and assisted on the other two to lead the Jets to their first victory of the season in this game at Detroit.
The Red Wings, who are 0-3-1, scored all three goals during a 12 1/2-minute spurt in the third period.
Chicago 5, Pittsburgh 5--Denis Savard scored with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation at Chicago to give the winless Black Hawks their first tie, in their fourth game.
There were six shots in the five-minute overtime, four by the Black Hawks, but none connected.
Vancouver 3, Boston 3--The Bruins' Charlie Simmer scored 16 seconds after Tony Tanti gave the Canucks the lead in the final period, and the teams played a scorelss overtime at Vancouver.
The Bruins remained unbeaten at 3-0-1.