On February 10, 1989, the Caps and the Los Angeles Kings hooked up in a barn-burner before a capacity crowd of 18,130 at USAir Arena. After fighting back from a three-goal deficit, the Capitals bowed to the Kings in overtime by a 7-6 score.
Rod Langway drew first blood for the Caps, potting his first goal of the season in the team’s 57th game of the campaign. The Kings’ Bernie Nicholls (who scored 70 goals in 79 games for the Kings that season) evened the score late in the first period when he beat Pete Peeters for his 53rd goal of the season.
The Kings came out quick in the second, scoring three times in just four shots on Peeters and chasing him to the bench in favor of Clint Malarchuk. Tim Watters, John Tonelli and Jay Miller scored within a span of three-and-a-half minutes. Wayne Gretzky picked up helpers on the Watters and Tonelli goals, and the Kings had a seemingly solid 4-1 lead. But with 5:40 left in the middle period, Dave Christian scored his 25th of the season, putting the puck behind Los Angeles’s Glenn Healy. With less than a minute remaining in the period, Geoff Courtnall’s 26th of the year cut the Kings lead to 4-3.
Just 2:05 into the third period, the Caps tied it up on Mike Gartner’s 21st of the year. But the Kings’ Luc Robitaille scored his 37th less than two minutes later to restore the LA lead. With LA’s Mike Allison in the box for holding, Courtnall scored his second of the game to deadlock the game at 5-5. Just 1:33 later, Courtnall set up Stephen Leach for the go-ahead goal. But 39 seconds after Leach’s tally, Gretzky took a pass from Allison and converted it into his 39th goal of the season and a 6-6 tie resulted.
The teams played scoreless hockey throughout the last half of the third period. With just 1:39 gone in overtime, Robitaille beat Malarchuk to give the Kings the win. The clubs had combined for 13 goals on just 54 shots.
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