Since 2008 the NHL has created a tradition of having an outdoor hockey game in a football or baseball stadium featuring 2 of the hottest teams in the NHL. January 1, 2015 is no different; the location is Washington D.C. and the teams are the Washington Capital and the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams have been on this stage before; Washington in 2011 playing in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field and Chicago in 2009 hosting the Red Wings in Wrigley Field.
|Home Plate at Nationals Park|
Entering today Washington has a record of 8-1-3 and the Blackhawks in their last 16 games are 13-2-1. There were 42, 832 hockey fans from all over ready to experience something special and they sure got what they came to see. It was a prefect day for hockey the temperature holding around 40 degrees and the sun not really an issue.
The teams entered to a roaring Nationals Park the through replica Capitol building that was in the outfield and skated to a reflection pool while the flag was displayed on the ice during the anthem. There were also performance by Billy Idol, Gavin DeGraw, and Lee Greenwood.
|Ovi Goal in 1st Period|
In the first period the Capitals jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with goals from Eric Fehr (3 goals in 2 Classic appearances) and Alex Ovechkin. The goalies switched ends at the halfway point of the 1st period; which is customary of this event to give each team a chance to deal with the sun glare. After switching ends the Blackhawks went on a Powerplay after a holding call on Nicklas Backstrom; Patrick Sharp cashed in quickly and cut the lead to 1 heading in the 2nd Period.
The Capitals start the 2nd period very quick with Ovechkin ringing 2 shots off the posts of the goal. On a beautiful pass from Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews, Brandon Sadd scores on an empty net and ties the game at 2-2.
The game remained tied at 2 till the very final seconds of the 3rd period. It looked like we were heading to OT like many other Classics had; but Ovechkin got slashed in the process of shooting and Troy Brouwer (former Blackhawk) collected the rebound and scored the winner with 12.6 seconds left.
|Patrick Sharp with media|
Capitals WIN and becoming only the second home team to actually win The Classic; Boston in 2010 is the other team. Brad Paisley said earlier today ” Today is the 1st blank page of a 365 page book, make it a good one.” Well I would say that the Capitals first page is a memorable one; now they just need to keep it going and make that playoff push to run for the Stanley Cup!!!
1. Alex Ovechkin: 1 Goal 1 Assist
2. Patrick Sharp: 1 Goal
3. Troy Bouwer: Game Winner
Capitals play the Florida Panthers on Sunday and the Blackhawks play the Dallas Stars on Sunday.