Looking Back At Memorable Games By Peter Bondra On His 55th Birthday

Photo: Washington Capitals

Before Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals’ career leader in goals was Peter Bondra, who played for the Capitals from 1990-91 through 2003-04. With Peter Bondra turning 55 on February 7, we thought it would be a good time to look back at some of his most memorable games.

Bondra’s First NHL Goal – October 17, 1990

Bondra scored his first goal on October 17, 1990, against the New Jersey Devils, at the Devils’ then home arena, Brendan Byrne Arena. Bondra scored his goal on a wrist shot at 3:52 of the first period. It put the Caps ahead 1-0. Unfortunately, the Caps were unable to hold onto the lead and lost 3-2.

Bondra Strikes with Five Goals Against Tampa Bay Lightning – February 5, 1994

This game, which took place on February 5, 1994 at U.S. Air Arena, did not start off well for the Capitals, as they fell behind on a Tampa Bay power play goal at 14:17. But Bondra tied the game just 27 seconds later. He added another goal just 15 seconds after that which put the Capitals ahead 2-1.

Less than two minutes after that, while the Caps were on the power play, he completed the hat-trick with this third goal of the game. This was a natural hat trick and allowed Bondra to get a team record for the fastest hat trick in team history (2:06).

That was not the end of Bondra’s scoring, as he added his fourth goal just over two minutes after that, which was the fastest four goals in franchise history, scoring four goals in 4:12 and the Capitals had a commanding 4-1 after first period.

Bondra went on to score one more goal that game which occurred late in the second period. The final score ended up 6-3. His linemates were Dale Hunter and Dmitri Khristich.

Bondra discussed Hunter after the game.

“It is Dale Hunter who makes my job easy. Dale is everywhere on the ice. He is always helping me out, giving me the puck. I am getting great passes all night. And when I make a mistake, he covers it. And when I get hit, he comes to help me out.”

Early Bonzai Birthday Present – Retro Recap: Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning – February 5, 1994 | NoVa Caps (novacapsfans.com)
Time CAPSule – Bondra’s Five-Spot (nhl.com)

Bondra Scores Goal #100

The Capitals faced the Calgary Flames at U.S. Air Arena on March 6, 1994. In this game, Bondra scored the Capitals’ second goal at 6:34, getting assists from Al Iafrate and Kelly Miller. The Capitals ultimately piled up a 3-0 lead before the first period was over. However, Calgary tallied two goals during second period and an additional goal in third period to tie the score at 3-3. The final score was a 4-4 tie.

Calgary Flames vs. Washington Capitals Box Score: March 6, 1994 | Hockey-Reference.com

Bondra Scores Goal #200

The Capitals faced the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. In this game, Bondra started the scoring with a short-handed goal at 5:46 of the first period. Bondra then added another goal at 18:01 to put the Capitals up 3-1 before the end of first period.

Unfortunately, the Ducks scored three goals during second period to take a 4-3 lead and then another on a third period power play to increase their lead to 5-3. Bondra added his third goal of the game at 19:29 to pull the Caps to within one goal at 5-4. This completed the hat-trick, but the Caps lost 5-4.  The third goal was Bondra’s 200th career goal.

MIGHTY DUCKS 5, CAPITALS 4 – The Washington Post
Washington Capitals – Anaheim Ducks – December 13th, 1996 | NHL.com
Washington Capitals vs. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Box Score: December 13, 1996 | Hockey-Reference.com

Bondra Gets 300th Career Goal – January 18, 1999

The Capitals faced the Montreal Canadiens at the Molson Center on January 18, 1999. The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead in the first period. However, during second period, in a see-saw period, the Caps eventually tied the score at 3-3 but, once again, fell behind at the end of the period.

Bondra tied the game at 8:22 of the third period to tie the game at 4-4, which remained the final score. This goal was the 15th in the season for Bondra and was his 300th career goal.

Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens Box Score: January 18, 1999 | Hockey-Reference.com
Bondra Gets 300 In Caps Tie – CBS News

Bondra Sets Capitals Franchise Record For Goals – November 30, 2001

On this day, the Capitals faced the Carolina Hurricanes at MCI Center. Bondra started the scoring at 4:04 into the game. This was his 16th goal of the season and the 398th of his career and allowed him to set the franchise record in goals, breaking a tie with Mike Gartner. He tapped a Dainius Zubrus’ rebound from the right side past goaltender Arturs Irbe, who was caught out of position at the top of the crease. This goal put the Capitals ahead 1-0.

Bondra added another goal, on a power play at 13:28, which put the team ahead 3-0. The Capitals went on to win the game 6-2.

Bondra Nets Two Goals For Franchise Record: Retro Recap – Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals – November 30, 2001 | NoVa Caps (novacapsfans.com)
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals Box Score: November 30, 2001 | Hockey-Reference.com

Bondra Scores 400th Career Goal – December 4, 2001

With the Capitals already leading 2-0, Bondra scored his 400th career goal at 13:15 on a power play. A video review showed that Rangers’ David Karpa had knocked the net off its moorings as Bondra’s goal had beaten Richter inside the right post.

Bondra added another goal, scoring 2 minutes and 15 seconds later.  Andrei Nikolishin intercepted a cross-ice pass at the blue line from the Rangers’ Mike York and then passed the puck to Bondra, who pushed it in for career goal #401. This was at 15:30. The Caps were now ahead 4-1. The Capitals ultimately won this game 5-2.

New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals Box Score: December 4, 2001 | Hockey-Reference.com
Peter Bondra Tops 400 Goals, First in Capitals Franchise History: Retro ReCaps: New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals – December 4, 2001

Bondra Sets Franchise Record In Points – April 5, 2003

The Capitals faced the Pittsburgh Penguins at MCI Center on April 5, 2003. In that game, the Caps were leading 4-3, after coming back from a 3-1 deficit, late in the third period. Bondra scored an empty net goal at 19:48 to ensure the victory. The goal allowed him to establish a new record for franchise points at 790.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals Box Score: April 5, 2003 | Hockey-Reference.com

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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