Stick Taps to the Veterans: A Look At the Washington Capitals on Veterans’ Day

Nam Yuh/Associated Press

November 11 is an important day in history. On November 11, 1918, Germany signed the armistice agreement with the Allies to end World War I. The anniversary of that date was commemorated by Armistice Day, eventually known as Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans’ Day in the United States. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle looks at how the Washington Capitals have performed on that holiday.

November 11, 1977

The very first time the Capitals played on Veterans’ Day was on November 11, 1977 at their first home, Capital Centre, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In that game, the Capitals lost by a 3-1 score to bring their record to 2-9-2 (Author’s Note: information on this game is sketchy).

Box Score From Hockey Reference

November 11, 1978

On November 11, 1978, the Capitals once again played at home at the Capital Centre, this time against the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps dominated the game for most of the first period but failed to score. Rene Robert of Buffalo scored on a power play during the second period, on an assist from Gilbert Perreault, to take a 1-0 lead. Early in the third period, Don Luce scored a shorthanded goal to put the Sabres up 2-0. That lead proved insurmountable for the Capitals and the team fell once again in a game in which the team kept missing shots by inches and Don Edwards, Buffalo’s goaltender, had a great game for the visitors.

Box Score From Hockey Reference
Cellar Dweller Capitals Host the Sabres
Sabres Blank Caps 2-0-sabres-blank-caps-2-0

November 11, 1981

On November 11, 1981, the Capitals again played at home at the Capital Centre.  Going into the game, the Caps were 1-13 and had just fired their Head Coach, Gary Green. This time, the Pittsburgh Penguins  were their opponents. Prior to the halfway mark of the opening frame, the Penguins scored two goals to take a 2-0 lead. The Capitals’ Dennis Maruk scored a power player goal to close the gap to 2-1 and scored another power player goal early in the second period to tie the score at 2-2; Maruk’s two goals were his ninth and 10th of the season. Unfortunately for the Caps, Peter Lee of the Penguins scored just over two minutes into the third period, getting an assist from former Capital Paul Mulvey, to put the Penguins ahead 3-2, which was the final score. This game was notable for being the very first game that Bryan Murray coached as bench boss of the Capitals, after being elevated from their farm team the Hershey Bears. The game was also notable for a great number of penalties, with a total of 30 penalties given out to both teams, including five misconducts.

Box Score From Hockey Reference
New Coach Watches More of the Same – Caps Lost 3-2

November 11, 1986

On November 11, 1986, the Capitals played the Minnesota North Stars at the Metropolitan Sports Center, the first time in their history that they had played on the road on Veterans’ Day. In that game forward Alan Haworth scored two goals before the first period was over to put the Caps ahead 2-0.  However, Dino Ciccarelli of Minnesota scored a power play goal over three minutes after the period’s halfway mark. Ciccarelli scored another power play during the second period to tie the score at 2-2. Neither team was able to dent the twine after the second Minnesota goal and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. The marked the first time in the Capitals’ history that they had not lost on November 11Ciccarelli would be traded to the Caps just a year later.

Box Score From Hockey Reference
Murrays Five Years Work Builds a Winner
Capitals Tie 2-2 in Minnesota

November 11, 1987

On November 11, 1987, the Capitals played the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh Civic Arena. On that night, the Penguins were playing without eight injured players, including superstar Mario Lemieux. Capitals forward Mike Gartner got the first goal of the game less than five minutes into the second period on a power play, putting the Caps ahead 1-0. Pittsburgh would score three unanswered goals during the period to take a 3-1 lead, on just six shots. The Capitals scored their second goal when Kelly Miller scored with less than a minute to go, however it would prove to be futile as the Pens held on for the 3-2 victory in a game that once again was filled with notable penalties doled out to both teams.

Sub 500 Night for Capitals
Box Score From Hockey Reference

November 11, 1989

On November 11, 1989, the Capitals played the Edmonton Oilers at home. Craig MacTavish opened up the scoring for the Oilers just 27 seconds into the first period to put the visitors ahead by one, while the Capitals’ Dale Hunter scored a power play goal at the 27-second mark of the second period to tie the score. However, Edmonton scored two more goals before the midpoint of the second period to move ahead 3-1. Dino Ciccarelli and Yvon Corriveau of the Capitals both scored less than two minutes into the third period to tie the game at 3-3; nearly 30 seconds later, Oilers forward Esa Tikkanen scored the go-ahead goal (the 100th goal of his career) to give Edmonton a 4-3 lead. MacTavish added his second goal of the night on a power play to put the Oilers ahead at 5-3, which was the final score.

Box Score From Hockey Reference
Edmonton Oilers History: Esa Tikkanen Scores 100th NHL Goal in Win Over Washington Capitals

November 11, 1990

On November 11, 1990, the Capitals played once again at home, this time against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins got their first goal less than three minutes into the opening period, but the Caps tied it up when Joel Quenneville scored his first goal of the season just past the midpoint of the period. Stephen Leach added a power play goal for the Capitals to put them ahead 2-1 before the end of the opening frame. During the second period, two former Capitals’ players, Bobby Carpenter and Dave Christian, scored for Boston less than five minutes into the second to put Boston ahead 3-2. Capitals forward John Druce scored his 10th goal of the year soon after to tie the game at 3-3.  During the third period, Craig Janney scored for Boston to put them ahead 4-3, and the Bruins added an empty-net goal to push the final score to 5-3.

Box Score From Hockey Reference

November 11, 1991

On November 11, 1991, the Capitals traveled to the Montreal Forum to play the Montreal Canadiens.  The Canadiens got the first goal of the game when Mike McPhee scored with less than a minute left during the first period. Capitals forward Dmitri Khristich tied the game over three minutes into the second period on a power play goal, his 11th of the year. Less than 30 seconds later, Alan May scored to put the Caps ahead 2-1, a goal that would be followed by another tally from defenseman Al Iafrate to put the visitors ahead 3-1. Early in the third period, Montreal scored to cut the deficit by one. However, the Capitals’ Kevin Hatcher added another goal before the 13-minute mark to move the score to 4-2, which held up as the final score. This was the first time the Caps had ever won a game on Veterans’ Day.

Box Score From Hockey Reference

November 11, 1992

On November 11, 1992, the Capitals traveled to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers in the second game of a three-game road trip. Bobby Carpenter opened up the scoring early in first period to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead, however the Rangers answered with a goal by Darren Turcotte. Todd Krygier put the Caps ahead again but Turcott struck back again to tie. The Rangers added two more goals before the first period was over and the score at the first intermission was 4-2 in favor of the Rangers. Capitals goaltender Jim Hrivnak, who had allowed three goals on just five shots, was pulled in favor of rookie Byron Dafoe, who was making his NHL debut. Capitals forward Dale Hunter got one goal back for Washington during the second period and the visitors scored four more unanswered goals, including Krygier’s second goal to pull ahead. Keith Jones, Steve Konowalchuk, and Kelly Miller had the other goals for Washington. The final score was 7-4 in favor of the Capitals.

Box Score from Hockey Reference
This Date in Caps History November 11

November 11, 1993

On November 11, 1993, the Capitals traveled to Tampa Bay to play the Lightning. Capitals forward Peter Bondra scored the game’s first goal during the first period, his eighth of the year, on a power play. Dmitri Khristich added his eighth goal early during the second period to stake the visitors to a 2-0 lead. During the third period, Randy Burridge scored his eighth goal early in the period, while the Bolts’ Peter Klima scored to break the shutout.  Near the end of the game, Capitals defenseman Sylvain Cote added an empty-net, shorthanded goal for Washington to increase the score to 4-1, the final score. The game was the sixth win in a row for the Caps.

Box Score From Hockey Reference
New York Times Sports Results

November 11, 1995

On November 11, 1995, the Capitals played the Chicago Blackhawks at US Airways Arena. The Blackhawks scored at the very end of the first period, on a power play goal by Gary Suter. They added another goal during the second period to pull ahead 2-0. Mark Tinordi scored on a power play for the Caps to narrow the deficit to 2-1, but Chicago added two more goals and won 4-1, a game that marked the Capitals’ third loss in a row.

https://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/199511110WSH.html

November 11, 1999

On November 11, 1999, the Capitals played the New York Rangers at MCI Center in Washington D.C.. During the first period, the teams traded goals, with Ken Klee scoring for the Caps and Petr Nedved scoring for the Rangers. During the second period, each team got two goals: Adam Oates and Joe Sacco scored for the home team, while Mike York answered with two for the Rangers, with the score still tied, at 3-3.  The final frame followed a similar pattern. Defenseman Calle Johansson scored for the Capitals but was followed by Nedved scoring once again near the end of regulation after the Rangers had pulled the goalie to tie the game at 4:04. The overtime period, however, did not follow the same pattern. A minute into the extra frame, Tim Taylor scored for the Rangers to propel them to a 5-4 victory.

https://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/199911110WSH.html

November 11, 2005

On November 11, 2005, the Capitals played the New Jersey Devils at MCI Center. For this game, Devils goatender Martin Brodeur returned to game action after a six-game absence due to a sprained knee. Capitals starter Olaf Kolzig was out with a hamstring pull and Frederic Cassivi was recalled from the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears to take Kolzig’s place. Cassivi had made some great saves but was let down by a defensive turnover which led to Grant Marshall of the Devils scoring the first goal of the game. With just under five minutes to go in the second period, Capitals forward Matt Bradley scored the game-tying goal. The momentum would not last for long, however, as Zach Parise and Brian Gionta scored for the Devils to put the visitors ahead 3-1. Scott Gomez added another goal for the Devils during the third period. Jeff Halpern and Alex Ovechkin added two goals for the Caps but it was too little too late and the Caps fell 4-3.  The loss allowed the Devils to snap a four-game losing streak.

ESPN NHL Recap of Game
Box Score From Hockey Reference

November 11, 2006

On November 11, 2006, the Capitals played the New York Rangers at Verizon Center (formerly MCI Center). The Capitals’ Boyd Gordon scored nearly 12 minutes into the first period, getting his first goal of the season and his first NHL goal since October 2003.  Less than five minutes into the third period, Alex Ovechkin scored his 11th goal of the season and Matt Pettinger would add another goal to put the home team ahead 3-0. Michael Nylander scored a power play goal for the Rangers, costing Kolzig a shutout in a game in which he had made 41 saves.  The final score was 3-1 in favor of the Caps.  The game featured a first period fight between Donald Brashear and Colton Orr. It also featured numerous minor penalties for both teams throughout the game.

Box Score from Hockey Reference
Game Story From New York Times

November 11, 2009

On November 11, 2009, the Capitals played the New York Islanders at Verizon Center.  Just six minutes into the game, Alexander Semin scored for the Caps, his eighth goal of the year that broke a six-game scoring drought.  The early lead was short-lived as Matt Moulson of the Islanders scored the game-tying goal just a short time later. The Islanders scored two more goals in quick succession and were ahead 3-1 less than seven minutes into the game. The tide, however, would soon turn in the Capitals’ favor. Tomas Fleischmann scored his sixth goal of the year on a power play to narrow the deficit to 3-2. Semin scored a power play goal over five minutes into the second period to tie the game at 3-3.  Near the end of the period, Eric Fehr scored to put the Capitals ahead 4-3. A lack of discipline, however, would cost the home team dearly. After taking no penalties during the first two periods, the Caps took two penalties in the last five minutes of the game, which led to tired penalty killers and the Islanders scored on a power play to tie the game at 4-4. The game went into overtime and then a shootout, which went 11 rounds before Capitals captain Chris Clark got the game-winning shootout goal.

Box Score From Hockey Reference
Capitals Capture 11th Round Knockout in 5-4 Shootout Victory

November 11, 2010

On November 11, 2010, the Capitals played the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center. Teddy Purcell of the Lightning scored the game’s first goal nearly halfway through the first period. The Caps answered back in the second period with goals from defenseman Tom Poti and right wing Mike Knuble to take a 2-1 lead. The Lightning tied the game on an early third period power play. Less than two minutes later, Alexander Semin scored for the home team, who were on a power play of their own. Semin added another goal just after the midpoint of the period to push the Capitals’ lead to 4-2. The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos scored to narrow the deficit to 4-3, a marker that was followed by Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scoring his ninth goal of the year with five minutes left to go.  Semin completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal to cap off a 6-3 victory in favor of the home team, their sixth straight win.

Nick Laham/Getty Images North America

Box Score From Hockey Reference
Alexander Semin Has Hat Trick and Two Assists as Caps Top Lightning

November 11, 2011

On November 11, 2011, the Capitals played the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.  Adam Larsson scored the game’s first goal to stake the home team to a 1-0 lead. Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal of the season to tie the game with less than three minutes to go in the second period. Early in the third period, Capitals forward Jason Chimera scored a shorthanded goal to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. Second-year forward Marcus Johansson added an insurance goal not long after the midpoint of the third period to solidify a 3-1 victory for the Capitals. Other than the win, the game was most notable for Alexander Semin getting benched for the entire third period and for Mike Green returning to the lineup after missing six games with an ankle injury.

Capitals vs Devils — Alexander Semin Benched as Washington Rallies to Win
Mike Green Injured in Capitals Win Over Devils
Box Score from Hockey Reference

November 11, 2014

On November 11, 2014, the Capitals played the Columbus Blue Jackets at Verizon Center. Marcus Johansson scored for the Capitals less than two minutes into the game, followed by a 5-on-3 Alex Ovechkin marker to push the home team to a 2-0 lead. Cam Atkinson of the Blue Jackets scored nearly two minutes later to narrow the deficit to 2-1. Ovechkin scored again with less than four minutes left in the period for his eighth goal of the season and a 3-1 Caps lead. David Savard added a goal for Columbus late in the second period, which was followed by Johansson scoring his second goal of the game during the third period to give the Caps a comfortable 4-2 win.

Johansson Ovechkin Score Two Apiece as Capitals Beat Blue Jackets 4-2
Box Score From Hockey Reference

November 11, 2016

On November 11, 2016, the Capitals traveled to United Center in Chicago to play the Chicago Blackhawks. Evgeny Kuznetsov was whistled for a holding penalty over five minutes into the game, which was followed by teammate Jay Beagle scoring a shorthanded goal during the subsequent Chicago power play, which allowed the Caps to take a 1-0 lead. About twenty seconds later, however, the Blackhawks scored on the same power play to tie the game at 1-1. Beagle scored another goal during the first period to retake the Capitals’ lead. Chicago’s Marian Hossa scored the game-tying goal near the end of regulation during a 6-on-5 situation. Nearly halfway through the overtime period, Marcus Johansson scored the game winner to edge the visitors over the home Blackhawks.

Box Score From Hockey Reference
Capitals Beat Blackhawks 3-2 as Beagle Notches Pair|
Capitals Blackhawks Honor 75 Veterans on Ice Before Fridays Game
Caps Shake Off Late Equalized with Marcus Johansson Goal in OT

November 11, 2018

On November 11, 2018, the Capitals played the Arizona Coyotes at Capital One Arena.  The Coyotes scored a power play goal with just over three minutes left in the period and scored again on a Richard Panik goal after the 10-minute mark of the second period. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom got the Caps on the board less than a minute later, but was followed by an Alex Galchenyuk power play goal to fall behind 3-1. The Coyotes added an empty-net goal late in the third period to solidify a 4-1 win. The Capitals had taken six minor penalties, including a double minor to T.J. Oshie, and gave up two power play goals. It was an ugly ending to a four-game homestand during which they had lost the last two games.

Capitals Penalty Kill Remains an Issue in 4-1 Loss to Coyotes
Coyotes Drop Capitals 4-1 Washington’s-Penalty Kill Gives up Two More Goals
Box Score from Hockey Reference

November 11, 2019

On November 11, 2019, the Capitals played the Arizona Coyotes at Capital One Arena. The Coyotes struck first again in the first period, this time on a Clayton Keller goal. The second period began badly for the home team as the Coyotes scored twice in the first minute of the period to take a 3-0 lead. Evgeny Kuznetsov got the Capitals on the board before the midpoint of the second period, decreasing the deficit to 3-1. Kthe uznetsov added another goal early in third period, his eighth of the year, followed by T.J. Oshie scoring the game-tying goal, his ninth of the year, after the home team had pulled the goalie. After neither team was able to score in the ensuing overtime period, the game extended to a shootout. At one point, it looked as though Oshie had scored in the skills competition, but it was ultimately disallowed, giving the Coyotes another Veterans’ Day victory. The final score was 4-3 in favor of the Coyotes.

Coyotes Beat Capitals 4-3 — Evgeny Kuznetsov Scores Twice
Capitals Six Game Winning Streak Snapped Despite Rally From 3 Goal Deficit
Box Score From Hockey Reference

Summary
Throughout their history, the Caps have played 21 games on Veterans’ Day, winning nine of them, losing eleven of them, with two of those losses coming in overtime or a shootout, and one tie. They failed to win a single game on Veterans’ Day until 1991, a very long drought since the inception of the franchise.

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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