On January 7, 1989, the Washington Capitals defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by a 6-3 score in front of 17,664 fans at the Capital Centre in Landover.
Adam Creighton put the Hawks on the board first, netting his ninth of the season at 11:21 of the first. The Caps drew even on Larry Murphy's power play goal - his third of the season - at 14:01. Mike Ridley and Scott Stevens recorded assists on Murphy's goal. Washington outshot Chicago 17-8 in a fight-filled first period. Washington's Dale Hunter went with Chicago's Bob Bassen at 4:24, the Caps' John Druce dropped the gloves with the Hawks' Steve Konroyd at 5:02 and the Capitals' Kevin Hatcher squared off with the Blackhawks' David Mackey at 16:44.
Steve Thomas staked Chicago to a 2-1 lead at 1:06 of the second when he scored his 21st of the season. Forty-eight seconds later, Mike Gartner got his 16th of the season to knot the score at 2-2. Ridley and Rod Langway assisted. Less than two minutes later, the seesaw affair took another turn when Dave Manson scored for the Blackhawks to give Chicago a 3-2 lead. It took almost 12 minutes, but Gartner brought the Caps back with his second of the game. Ridley recorded his third assist of the evening on the goal. Washington fired 10 shots at Chicago rookie Eddie Belfour in the second period while the Hawks responded with nine against the Caps' Pete Peeters.
The Capitals grabbed their first lead of the game at 4:01 of the third period when Hatcher beat Belfour for his ninth goal of the season. Ridley notched the lone assist. The Hawks lost their discipline late, enabling the Caps to take control of the game. With just over five minutes left in a one-goal game, Bassen was whistled for high-sticking. At 16:12, Dale Hunter made him pay when he netted a power play goal, his eighth of the season. Hunter was assisted by Hatcher and Ridley. At 17:55, Chicago's Everett Sanipass erased whatever slim hope the Hawks had of climbing back into the take when he took a spearing major and a game misconduct. With just 1:15 left in the game, Stevens closed out the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, a power play strike. Hatcher and Ridley assisted. The Caps outshot the Hawks 7-4 in the third and 34-21 on the evening.
Ridley established a single-game club record with six assists, a mark that has not yet been equaled. He was the slam-dunk choice as the game's first star. Gartner's two goals got him the second star and Hatcher's three-point night gained him third star honors.
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