This Day in Caps History: The Capitals’ First Win

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Posted October 17, 2014

The Washington Capitals tallied their first win almost 40 years ago on this date in 1975 thanks to two bank shots and one butt.

The day was Oct. 17 and I’m sure it wasn’t much different than today. The Caps were just starting out, one of two expansion teams that joined the league in 1974. The bunch were less than experienced; the 30 team league left new teams with slim pickings as far as seasoned players went.

Enter the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks, two year removed from their appearance in the Stanley Cup Final and one from a 105-point season, were not to be underestimated. Actually, the original six dynasty team was a force to be feared – and they knew it.

The Hawks expected to win that night; they had no reason not to. The Capitals, however, had something else in mind.

The Caps were riding a bad streak – they started their first season with two loses and a tie. The Hawks, on the other hand, had the momentum of a shutout win against original six rivals, the Boston Bruins. Then head coach Billy Reay saw no threat to the Hawks’ dominance and sat their starting goaltender, instead starting backup Mike Veisor.

Denis Dupere, the Capitals’ first representative in the All-Star game, got things moving a few minutes into the first period. While attempting to center the puck from behind the net, Dupere got Veisor to do his job for him. The puck bounced off the tender’s skate and into the net.

The Hawks evened things up and then too a 2-1 lead early in the second, but Dupere was not discouraged. He scored the tying tally on a power play, this time banking the biscuit off of Hawk’s defenseman Doug Jarrett’s buttocks.

Jarrett later claimed that the goal was “no big deal” since he had the self-proclaimed “biggest butt in the league.”

Soon came the Caps’ second lead of the night thanks to Ron Anderson. Jack Egers scored the Capitals’ first ever game winning goal at 8:46 in the third period. The usually slow Egers let nothing hinder his drive as he shirked two Chicago defenders who were hot on his trail. The shot whizzed past Veisor and the rest is history.

Goaltender Ron Low fought off the Blackhawks desperate attacks throughout the third. Nothing got past him and the Capitals won 4-3.

Hawks players later lamented their bad luck. Defenseman Bill White said, “We don’t usually score two goals for the other team, you know.”

But Low couldn’t have been in higher spirits: “I can’t feel too sorry because if we don’t get those two bounces, we don’t win,” he said. “In the meantime, I’m celebrating. I think I might drink a couple now. A couple of cases, that is.”