Another Winter Classic is officially in the books, and it's hard to ask for more than what the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks gave hockey fans on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.
In the end, the ‘Hawks got beat by one of their own. Troy Brouwer, who spent the first five years of his career in Chicago, scored with 13 seconds left in regulation to give the Capitals a 3-2 win.
Brouwer’s heroics came with the Caps on the man advantage, on something of a broken play — Alex Ovechkin‘s stick shattered (courtesy a Brandon Saad slash) on his original shot and the puck went to Brouwer, who made no mistake firing past Corey Crawford.
Not captured was an angry Jonathan Toews. The Chicago captain was bitterly displeased with his hooking call on Karl Alzner that led to the game-winning goal, and let the officials know about it while skating off the ice following the game.
For the Capitals, though, no matter. They were elated and, with the win, became the first team in NHL history to win two Winter Classics.
Ovechkin put on a show during the game, scoring a goal and nearly scoring on several other chances including a two-minute stretch where he beat Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford two different times only to hit the post on each attempt.
In the Capitals' crease, Braden Holtby was outstanding, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced and playing a crucial role in the team killing off a minute-and-a-half two-man advantage for the Blackhawks early in the third period that gave his team a chance to win it late.
With Eric Fehr's breakaway goal in the first period to open the scoring, he now has three goals in two career outdoor games, including a two-goal effort in the Capitals 2011 Winter Classic win in Pittsburgh over the Penguins.
With his assist on Saad’s goal, Toews became the NHL’s all-time leading scorer in outdoor games, with two goals and five points in three contests.