This Date in Caps History - November 26
On November 26, 1997, the Washington Capitals closed a lengthy chapter in the team's history when they played their final game at USAir Arena.
Washington honored former defenseman Rod Langway before the game, retiring and raising his number 5 jersey to the rafters. After the puck dropped, the Capitals dropped a 6-5 decision to Langway's first NHL employer, the Montreal Canadiens.
Montreal got on the board first when Shayne Corson scored at 10:23 of the first period. Corson made it 2-0 in favor of the Habs when he netted his second of the night at 14:05 on a Montreal power play. Richard Zednik halved the leadwhen he scored his sixth of the season for Washington at 15:29 of the first. Steve Konowalchuk and Mark Tinordi picked up the assists. The Caps put 16 shots on Montreal netminder Jocelyn Thibault in the first period while the Habs countered with nine against Washington's Olie Kolzig.
Zednik knotted the score with his second of the night at 2:47 of the middle period, Phil Housley and Konowalchuk assisting. Valeri Bure scored for the Habs at 4:54 to restore his team's lead. At the 10:23 mark of the second, Peter Bondra scored his 17th of the young season to draw the Capitals even again. Jan Bulis and Housley earned assists on the Bondra goal. Longtime Capital nemesis Mark Recchi scored for the Canadiens at 14:31 to make it 4-3 in favor of Montreal. When the Habs' Stephane Quintal scored just over two minutes later, it gave Montreal a two-goal lead and also sent Kolzig to the Washington bench. He was replaced by Bill Ranford. The Canadiens outshot Washington 11-6 in the second.
Jeff Toms, claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay just a week earlier, scored his first goal as a Capital and second of the season at 2:35 of the third period. Sergei Gonchar and Housley earned the assists on the Toms tally. Toms' goal closed the Washington deficit to one, but less than three minutes later Recchi's second of the night restored Montreal's two-goal cushion at 6-4. Mark Tinordi netted his sixth of the season for Washington at 9:20 of the final frame with help from Dale Hunter and Kelly Miller, but the Caps were unable to get the equalizer in their final game at their original home. The Caps outshot Montreal 9-7 in the third and 31-27 on the evening.
Corson was the game's first star, Recchi the second and Zednik the third. Each of the three had two goals during the game. Corson and Recchi both added assists and enjoyed three-point nights.