On January 17, 1987 the Washington Capitals spanked the Hartford Whalers by a 6-1 score before 15,126 onlookers at the Hartford Civic Center.
Washington got on the board first when Mike Gartner scored on a penalty shot just 1:30 into the first period. It was Washington's first penalty shot since December 20, 1980, a span of more than six years. Gartner beat the Rangers' Wayne Thomas on that occasion. This time, Gartner put the puck past Hartford's Mike Liut for his 11th goal of the season. At 7:34 of the first, Kevin Hatcher netted his fifth of the season to make it 2-0, Washington. Mike Ridley earned the lone assist on Hatcher's goal. With the two teams playing four skaters a side, Dave Christian scored his 11th of the season at 11:21. Scott Stevens and Craig Laughlin gained the helpers on Christian's goal. Washington had nine shots on Liut in the first while the Whalers countered with 11 against the Capitals' Bob Mason.
Hatcher scored an unassisted goal at 1:56 of the second period to push the Washington advantage to 4-0. Less than three minutes later, Hatcher and Kelly Miller assisted on Bobby Gould's 11th goal of the season, driving Liut to the bench in favor of Steve Weeks in the process. Liut surrendered five goals on 12 shots in fewer than 25 minutes of work. Christian bagged his second of the game at the 8:16 mark of the middle period with help from Larry Murphy. The goal was Washington's sixth unanswered tally and fifth straight even-strength marker. Hartford outshot Washington 9-7 in the second period.
Mason came within 4:52 of a shutout but that went by the boards when former Cap Doug Jarvis scored a shorthanded goal for the Whalers at 15:08 of the final frame. The Whale outshot Washington 9-6 in the third and 29-22 on the evening.
Mason's 28-save performance earned him the game's first star. Christian and Hatcher took the second and third stars, respectively. Both players had two-goal games; Hatcher added an assist.
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