20 years and five months have passed since the Capitals last game at the U.S. Airways Arena/Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Since that time, the Capitals have been playing at MCI/Verizon/Capital One Arena at the corner of 7th and F street in downtown D.C.. With Capitals returning to Maryland to do battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Navy Memorial Stadium in Annapolis tomorrow, NoVa Caps takes a look back at the Capitals last game in Maryland on November 26, 1997.
The Capitals hosted the Montreal Canadiens in the final game at Capital Center/U.S. Airways Arena. Olie Kolzig started in net for the Capitals.
Montreal would strike 10 minutes into the game with a goal from Shayne Corson for the first goal of the contest. Corson would strike again for the Canadiens with a power-play goal 3:42 later to double the lead on the power play. Richard Zendik struck 1:24 later for the Capitals to cut the Montreal lead in half. The Canadiens led 2-1 when the first period was done.
Zednik struck again 2:47 into the middle frame to tie the game but it would only stay that way for 2:07 as the Canadiens’ Valeri Bure buried the puck behind the Washington net to regain the lead for Montreal. Peter Bondra would tie the game at three 10:53 into the period but Montreal’s Mark Recchi struck at 14:31 and Stephane Quintel 2:11 later to give Montreal a 5-3 lead heading into the second intermission. Kolzig got pulled after yielding five goals on only 20 shots and Bill Ranford would start the third period for the Capitals.
Washington came out with urgency to begin the final frame down by one and Jeff Torns scored his second of the season. Defenseman Phil Housley would tally his third helper of the night on the goal to cut the lead to 5-4. Forward Mark Recchi would score at 5:18 and that stood as the game-winning goal. Washington’s Mark Tinordi struck 8:30 into the period and the Capitals pushed late but were not able to tie it. Tinordi’s goal would also stand as the final goal as U.S. Airways Center.
The Canadiens would ultimately prevail 6-5 and Corson and Recchi would tie a team-high two goals and three points in the game.
Bill Ranford would settle for the loss after giving up one goal on only seven shots against and Montreal goalie Jocylen Thibault would make 26 saves on 31 shots for the win in the final game at US Airways Center.
The Last Word
As per Caps Today, Capitals defensemen Mark Tinordi was credited with the final goal at U.S. Airways Arena, with Dale Hunter and Kelly Miller assisting on the goal. In total, the Capitals played 919 games at U.S. Airways Arena, previously named USAir Arena and Capital Centre, finishing with a record of 444-356-119-0. Michael Gartner is credited as the Capitals’ all-time goal scorer at U.S. Airways Arena (226), all-time leader in assists (221) and points (447). Don Beaupre is credited with the most wins (70) at U.S. Airways Arena as a goaltender, while Jim Carey has the lowest goals against average (2.23) and most shutouts (nine).
Capital Centre: Looking back at the Capitals first home
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By Harrison Brown