A decade ago, one of the greatest regular-season games in Washington Capitals history happened at Verizon Center.
After DC was blanketed with over two feet of snow, the Capitals and Penguins renewed their rivalry on Super Bowl Sunday 2010.
Sidney Crosby scored the game’s first two goals to the ire of the Caps fans who successfully made it to the arena. Gross. Alex Ovechkin responded with a lamplighter of his own, but then Jordan Staal found the back of the net twice himself. By the middle of the second period, the Penguins had a commanding 4-1 lead. The game appeared over.
And then the Snovechkin magic happened.
The Capitals scored four unanswered goals, including two from Ovechkin, the team’s newly minted captain, to give the Russian machine his ninth career regular-season hat trick. With his first goal, Ovechkin became the first player in the 2009-10 season to hit the 40-goal mark. Ovechkin ended the year with 50.
“Ovi was crazy. He was awesome. He took the team on his back and he carried us,” Eric Fehr said. “That’s what we needed, and he was wonderful.”
Mike Knuble scored the overtime game-winning goal to give the Capitals the 5-4 win. After an Ovechkin one-timer hit the post, Knuble found the rebound and pushed it past Marc-Andre Fleury. Ovechkin got the primary assist, his fourth point of the day.
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was in the penalty box for a high-sticking minor on Alex Semin.
“He sells it all the time. The kid’s a baby,” Orpik said Semin’s sell job on the penalty. “I’ve got zero respect for the kid.”
On top of Ovechkin’s hatty, Knuble registered a Gordie Howe Hat Trick after scoring a goal, collecting an assist, and fighting Craig Adams.
“It was what people pay to see, when the superstars shine,” Bruce Boudreau, the Caps head coach at the time, said. “There’s tension, and there’s excitement, and there’s physical play, and there’s passion on both sides.”
This Date @Capitals History
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) February 7, 2020
The game inspired dozens of snowmen built across the area featuring Alex Ovechkin jerseys and gap-toothed smiles made out coal.
What a legendary game.
Headline photo courtesy of NBC
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