Photo: Alex Brandon
It’s the Winter Classic! Hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park, the Washington Capitals played maybe their most important game since the 2013 playoffs. It was a terrific affair: Two great teams on a great sheet of ice, in front of 42,831 fans and one guy in a Crosby sweater, playing wide-open hockey punctuated by all the hockey nonsense that makes this game so compelling. The result of the game is almost secondary, but I bet you might care.
NHL outdoor goal-scoring leader Eric Fehr struck first, converting an early breakaway. Alex Ovechkin crashed the net, exploiting chaos to put the Caps up 2-0 in the first period. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: that lead did not hold. The Hawks won a power-play faceoff shortly before Patrick Sharp got a sun-drenched shot past Braden Holtby. John Carlson’s turnover in the second period led to Brandon Saad tying the game, which is how it stood after forty minutes.
Then, with twelve seconds left in regulation and the Capitals on the power play, Troy Brouwer swatted a loose puck behind Corey Crawford.
Caps beat Hawks 3-2! The Caps are undefeated outdoors!
Let’s celebrate! Pump it up.
I enjoyed the heck out of this game. We got some explosive offense from the Caps in the first period, some chaos in the second, and a tense back-and-forth in the third. Even without the last-minute fireworks, this was a fun hockey game on a big stage in a beautiful setting. Or maybe I just like high-event hockey.
It was a treat to hear from all our friends at the stadium who sent us photos and tweets and text messages. It sounded like a party, like a great big family enjoying a day out.
Aside from some doldrums in the second, your Washington Capitals played a great game against the best team in the NHL. That’s your team; they’re one of the best.
What a great day.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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