The Winter Classic finally arrived yesterday, and for the Chicago Blackhawks it ended with out a point. The Hawks faced the Washington Capitals at Nationals Parks for the most talked about game of the regular season. While the pomp and circumstance adds flair to the event, when it’s all said and done, the Winter Classic is just another game during the regular season. Well, a regular game with fighter jets and fireworks. So lets ignore the extracurriculars and talk about the game.
The first period was almost entirely owned by the Capitals, evident by the two goals scored. The Caps veteran, Eric Fehr, opened the scoring with a goal on Corey Crawford who was out of his crease leaving a wide open net behind him. His goal started in the Caps zone, off a rebound, Fehr took off with the puck with Brent Seabrook unable to capture it.
Pittsburgh Penguins fans will remember him as the guy who scored two goals back in 2011 during the Pens vs. Caps at Heinz Field. So Fehr can be credited with igniting that spark for his crew.
Although Fehr was first to spark his team, his captain Alex Ovechkin certainly maintained that fire. Ovechkin scored on a rebound from a shot attempt by Mike Green from right in front of Crawford. The ‘Great 8’ shot the puck in the net from only a few feet away and not a Blackhawk paying him any mind.
All was not lost for the Blackhawks in the first period, Patrick Sharp knocked in a goal on the power play, with Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane on the assist. The period ended with only one goal separating both teams.
There was no love lost between the Caps and the Hawks. Though they barely play each other during the season, that didn’t stop both to aggravate each other. Washington is chock full of big bodies so it’s the job of the Blackhawks to stat focused and precise.
The second period came and went with only one goal. Brandon Saad ties the game with a Braden Holtby’s entire right side open. With a pass from Jonathan Toews, Saad was able to score with only one Cap behind him.
As the third period slowly crept to a close, everyone knew the tiebreaker and game-winner would occur in dramatic fashion. And dramatic that goal was.
With captain Toews in the penalty box for a questionable call, it was all eyes on Washington to score. Toews was called for a barely-there hooking call to the stomach of Karl Alzner. For those of you who are unaware, Alzner was the cool cat that opted for sunglasses instead of eye black.
As the Blackhawks were on the penalty kill, the Capitals banked on the power play. It was the former Blackhawk, a piece of the Chicago 2010 Stanley Cup win, Troy Brower who put his team up 3-2. From just outside the right faceoff circle Brower blows one past Crawford, sending Naionals Park into frenzy.
There were 17 seconds remaining in the period, and we have all seen crazier things happen, so the Blackhawks sent all they had on the ice. Holtby bailed his team out in the final seconds, blocking a Kane shot in the mess of players surrounding him.
So, the Chicago Blackhawks open 2015 with a loss at the Winter Classic and the power play still questionable. There wasn’t enough movement for Chicago, not quick enough against the high intensity Capitals. The positive is that, well, they’re atop the league in wins, points and goals. Oh, and the Blackhawks sitting second in both the league and conference. Oh, and first in the central division.
Chicago will have to worry about Kris Versteeg, who injured his hand blocking a shot by Fehr in the third period.