Caps beat Blackhawks 3-2 in Winter Classic!

Alex Brandon

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!

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Caps vs Hawks Pregame: The Winter Classic

The Washington Capitals’ all-time outdoor scoring leader, Eric Fehr.

Let me start with this: Welcome to 2015, RMNB. I hope it’s a safe and happy one for you, and I hope you eat delicious food. That’s important.

In a few hours, or– if it’s sunny, a few hours after that– the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks will drop the puck at Nationals Park in DC for the Winter Classic. There’s gonna be pageantry, patriotism, and marked-up merchandise. There’s also going to be hockey. Let’s talk about that last part.

The game starts 1 PM on NBC, unless it starts later, which we don’t know yet.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 18-11-7 51.1% 100.3 22.9% 77.8%
Chicago Blackhawks 25-10-2 54.9% 100.7 18.7% 90.5%

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Winter Classic Pregame: A Hawk-Eye’s View

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It’s here, and there’s no use chirping at the other squad at this point. Except to say…we dare not say anything at the moment, actually. Other than the CSN-Chicago lady we ran into who told us how f*%#@ing cold Chicago is, we’re just not going there. That, and our contributor today actually likes DC, and so now we’re feeling like jerks to whizz all over Chicago…which is, in the end, a great city.

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis during an event last week in Southeast DC. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

It’s been 40 years since the Capitals first took the ice in the 1974-75 season. The team has been celebrating the occasion incessantly, honoring the franchise’s best players with video tributes that air every night at Verizon Center and when CSN+ doesn’t have anyone in studio for the late game.

Despite the trumpeting of their former players, the Capitals will not be hosting an alumni game prior to the 2015 Winter Classic, which heretofore had been a tradition. According to the NHL, this was a decision made by the Caps. Speaking to Capitals season ticket holders last week, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly suggested one possible reason for the move: the League didn’t agree to a deal with Nationals Park until September.

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Caps beat Hawks 3-2! The Capitals Won a Game!

Freaking great GIF by @myregularface

The Chicago Blackhawks were wayyyyy better than the Washington Capitals for the first half of Friday night. Like, it wasn’t even close. It was like David and Goliath except if Goliath mercilessly beat David to death with a club. But then the Caps herded a little big mo’ and got the bounces that had been eluding them for the last two weeks.

It was ugly at first. Get this. Marian Hossa beat Matt Niskanen along the boards and set up Brandon Saad for a lovely goal on a two-on-one. Then, Duncan Keith got a rebound for a power-play goal from the Ovi spot to make it 2-0.

Okay, now get THIS, ’cause this all happened inside five minutes. First,Andre Burakovsky called his own number on a breakaway late in the second, scoring with a dart to the high corner. Then, Marcus Johansson tied it up with a spinny shot that took some bounces. Finally, Matt Niskanen release a long b0mb from the blue line that had plenty of support up front– namely Joel Ward, who tipped it in.

The third period was all Hawks as the Caps played prevent defense in the same manner as your parents played prevent defense about nine months before you were born. Except this time it worked.

Caps beat Hawks 3-2! THE CAPITALS HAVE WON A GAME!

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Caps at Hawks Pregame: Crash the Net, Must the Win

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Elite defenseman. Elite toque. (Photo: Caps Instagram)

October 25th. I remember it well. It was a simpler time, back when the Caps still won hockey games, children spoke only when spoken to, and women knew their place.

Since then everything has gone wrong. Personally, I blame Congress.

(And volatile shooting percentages endemic to small sample sizes, particularly for a team that is not sufficiently aggressive during 5v5 when leading.)

Alright. Road game against the Chicago Blackhawks, who might be the best team in the league (Neil has them fourth in his power rankings). After losing to the Coyotes and the Flames, it would only make sense for the Caps to beat these guys. right?

Late game. 8:30 PM on CSN Plus. Grab a beer and watch with me. From your couch. Alone. Forever alone.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 4-5-3 54.4% 97.8 29.3% 79.1%
Chicago Blackhawks 7-5-1 56.1% 99.5 18.9% 92.7%

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Ovechkin Toews

On any given night, there’s a fanboy somewhere, watching a hockey game and saying “Well, we shoulda won that, it was just a fluke we didn’t.”

Caps fans have been saying that a lot lately. Weird puck squirts. Dominating play but no points. Mystical karmic forces aligned against Washington until its NFL team changes its name, or some such.

Point is, if you find yourself resorting to the fluke argument too often, chances are pretty solid you’re really not talking about flukes, but something else. Fixing that something else is starting to become an issue now, and seeing as we’re going up against our Winter Classic rivals tonight, this game needs to provide clues as to what, exactly, needs fixing.

Chicago is a dominating team with a corps of dominating players, despite some of their early going this season. I’d like to say something rude about all those young punks like Toews, Kane, Van Riemsdyk (which always makes me think of hipsters with funny little beards), and even some of the elders, but I can’t. They’re just that good.

Chicago itself is another story.

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On Wednesday morning, the NHL released a two-minute long video promoting the upcoming Winter Classic in Washington DC. The gravely narrator gets us excited for the Capitals match-up with the Blackhawks on January 1.

Enjoy!

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The jersey’s got stripes! (Photo: Monumental Network)

At noon on Tuesday, the Washington Capitals will debut their new Winter Classic jerseys. All the big wigs are in attendance: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Don Fehr, and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. Also scheduled to attend are Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Braden Holtby, who will be modeling the new sweaters.

There will be a lot of information to cover today: plans for the game, a 24/7-like documentary series leading up to the game, the Caps new WC logo, the NHL’s logo, whatever the Hawks are doing, rink placement inside the stadium, views from the seats, and probably even more.

We’ll update this post as information comes in so keep refreshing. Have a blast in the comments. Also, we’ll have some awesome photos from Amanda Bowen, who is photographing the event for us, later.

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Beagle Rabid as Caps beat Hawks 4-0

Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

The vibe was weird in Friday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The Caps were playing for nothing but honor, but the Hawks were jockeying for playoff position. You couldn’t tell by the tilt of the ice. The Caps played a sloppy– but productive– game led by the team’s 1C, Jay Bodenheimer Beagle.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 51st  goal of the year on the power play from the remotest bastion of the Ovi Spot. Jay Beagle took two swipes to make it 2-0. Nick Backstrom eliminated the two-goal lead with a no-angle bank shot off Antti Raanta’s buttocks. Beagle struck again before the second period was done because nothing makes sense in an absurd universe upon which all meaning is a deliberate projection.

Nothing in the third. Sorry, Jay.

Caps beat Hawks like a million to nothing.

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