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Sam Jan 11, 2020 7:53
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WASHINGTON - The NHL almost could not have scripted the 2015 Winter Classic any better.From the time the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks took the ice at Nationals Park, through a fly-over by F-16 fighter jets, an Alex Ovechkin goal and the drama of a late winner by Troy Brouwer, Thursdays game was a showcase of top-of-the-line hockey.Its a celebration of our game, Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen said.It was a celebration of the good and the bad. The only thing that hurt the majesty of the afternoon was a series of late penalty calls that contributed to the Capitals 3-2 victory and left a sour taste in the mouths of Blackhawks players.A questionable hooking penalty on Jonathan Toews in the games final minute paved the way for Brouwers goal with 12.9 seconds left.I dont know how much that play deserved a call there, how much it had to do with maybe us getting a few more opportunities on the power play previously in the game, Toews said. Its not a good feeling especially with the excitement, the hype and the energy that surrounded this whole thing leading up to this game.For more than 55 minutes, this was a game so well played it wouldve been a thriller no matter the setting. Sun played a role on at least one goal, but the ice was so good the teams were able to race up and down like a track meet.Washington waited four years since the Capitals visited the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic to host this event. Despite concerns about sun glare, it began on time because captains Ovechkin and Toews and Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford gave the thumbs up during pre-game warm-ups.For us, the primary issue, if there was to be an issue, was player safety, commissioner Gary Bettman said. Once we were comfortable that that wasnt going to be an issue, everyone decided, I decided, it was time to go and play on time.Unlike past Winter Classics, there wasnt a sloppy feeling-out period. Eric Fehr scored on a breakaway early, his third outdoor goal in his second Winter Classic to become the NHLs leader in that category.The teams switched ends at the 10-minute mark of the first period to make it fair given the sun glare. Not long after that, Ovechkin scored on a rebound and Patrick Sharp answered for the Blackhawks on a power-play goal that Braden Holtby couldnt see because of the sun.Even if that goal, and perhaps Brandon Saads in the second period that came after an odd bounce off the end boards, would only have happened outdoors, thats part of the deal in games like this.When the elements werent a factor, the facts of hockey came into play. The Blackhawks got 1:31 of a five-on-three power play in the second period, but Duncan Keiths stick broke at the blue-line and they got zero shots on net in their best chance to take control.The mentality today was just shoot the puck and things happen, but on a five-on-three, its not the same mentality, which probably didnt help us, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. When you dont score on five-on-threes, you generally dont win and that ended up being the result.A late penalty on Niskanen, a borderline boarding call, gave Chicago another opportunity. There were two seconds left on that power play when Toews got his stick across the body of Capitals centre Nicklas Backstrom.I dont really think at any point in the game the refs are looking to give an easy one to a team, Washington defenceman Karl Alzner said. Its bad timing for them, good timing for us.When Saad slashed Ovechkin on the ensuing penalty kill, the puck was free for Brouwer to turn around and fire it past Corey Crawford. It wasnt picturesque, but the former Blackhawks winger will take it.Im not sure where it even went in, but I heard the noise of the crowd, heard the noise of the guys on the ice, Brouwer said. It was one of those where you know the time, you know the score, and youre just trying to get a puck on net, and thankfully it went in.For the Blackhawks, it was hard to take.Regardless of what happens, you never want to lose in the last minute of a game or you never want to be scored on in the last minute of a period, forward Ben Smith said. Its tough to swallow, for sure.Brouwer was playing with a heavy heart 11 days after Clint Reif, an assistant equipment manager for the Blackhawks and a friend, was found dead at his home. Brouwers father, who had a stroke two years ago, was also among the 42,832 in attendance and sent him a congratulatory text message after the goal.The Vancouver product won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010 and scored a late winner during the Capitals memorable playoff series against the Boston Bruins in 2012. This was still special.Ive had some good moments in my hockey career, but this one, with all the intangibles, that played a part in it, Brouwer said. My parents being able to come into town, playing against my former team, this being the first goal that I scored against my former team and the dramatic fashion at the end of the game of how everything played out, its going to be a memorable day, a memorable event.There were plenty of memorable images, including before the game when players entered around a replica of the U.S. Capitol Building and a giant American flag was unfurled on the ice. After the puck was dropped at 1:30 with a perfect temperature of just over six degrees, there was Ovechkin jumping into the glass to celebrate his 18th goal of the season.But by the end, Capitals fans added another by tossing their seat cushions in the air to celebrate Brouwers goal. Its a local tradition that dates back to a Washington Redskins NFL playoff game in 1991 down the street at old RFK Stadium.The Capitals became just the second home team to win a Winter Classic, joining the Bruins, who needed overtime to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 event at Fenway Park.You definitely want to win a home game like this, said Fehr, a native of Winkler, Man., who has become something of a Winter Classic hero after scoring twice in the 2011 game. You dont want to let your fans down.Even if Blackhawks fans walked to the exits with their shoulders slumped a bit from a stinging loss, Smith said it was an honour just to be a part of the Winter Classic. Bettman was, as usual, satisfied with how the event turned out, and he had reason to given the level of play.I know they get compared one outdoor game to another: theyre all unique, theyre all different, theyre all special in their own way, Bettman said. I dont know what peoples expectations were for our event here today, but the Winter Classic here in Washington couldnt have been better from a fan experience and an entertainment standpoint.Barry Trotz was coaching his first outdoor game and sure seemed to enjoy the whole experience. That extended to his post-game news conference.Ive got the first question, Trotz said. Did anybody have any fun? Yeah, Im having a lot of fun right now.Notes — Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Quenneville said Versteeg could be out for a bit but said the team would know more Friday. ... Capitals defenceman Brooks Orpik not only played but led the team in ice time (24:44) just three days after suffering what looked to be a scary knee injury. Orpik had been considered a game-time decision. ... Billy Idol performed before the game, Gavin DeGraw during the first intermission and then Lee Greenwood during the second.---Follow @SWhyno on Twitter. Arizona Coyotes Store . The win gives Canada its fifth title at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge. "Weve got to keep pushing," said Westlake, who led Canada with five goals in the tournament. "The second you let off the pedal, everyone catches up. Max Domi Jersey . Pace had a career-high 10 sacks for Rex Ryans defence-- second only to Muhammad Wilkersons 10 1/2 -- in his sixth season with the Jets. The 33-year-old outside linebacker was an unrestricted free agent. https://www.cheapcoyotes.com/928z-oliver-ekman-larsson-jersey-coyotes.html. Although taking two of three from the Baltimore Orioles wasnt nearly as uplifting as winning the World Series, it still felt pretty darn good. Felix Doubront and four relievers combined kept Baltimores potent lineup in check, and David Ortiz had three of Bostons 12 hits off Wei-Yin Chen in a 4-3 victory Thursday night. Darcy Kuemper Jersey . -- Phil Mickelson came to the St. Anders Hedberg Jersey . The Red Wings hadnt played the night before. The Boston Bruins had. A month from now, or two months from now, it doesnt matter. But right now it does matter, when you start and you play back to back, its wear and tear on you for sure, Babcock said.OAKLAND, Calif. -- Michael Choice singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Tuesday night. Josh Wilson doubled to drive in the tying run just ahead of Choice, who began his career with the As. Alexi Ogando (1-1) recorded one out in the eighth to pick up the win. Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his fifth save. Luke Gregerson (0-1) took the loss after blowing his third save opportunity. He gave up two runs on three hits. Gregerson appeared to have pitched out of trouble when he threw out pinch hitter Mitch Moreland at the plate on a safety squeeze by Leonys Martin for the second out. Martin stole second and scored when Wilson, who cost the Rangers two runs with a fielding error in the fourth, doubled. Donnie Murphy had two hits and drove in a run for the Rangers, who won their seventh in eight games. Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard drove in runs for the As, who lost their second straight for the first time this season. Josh Reddick had two hits. As starter Tommy Milone allowed three runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out one. Nick Martinez was recalled from Double-A to make the start for the Rangers. He lasted five innings, allowing four runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out one. Three of Milones walks came in the first inning, when the Rangers took a 2-0 lead. Murphy singled home one run and Robinson Chirinos walked with the bases loaded. The As answered in their half of the first. Jed Lowrie doubled and scored when Donaldson singled. Cespedes hit a double, allowing Donaldson to score. The Rangers regained the lead in the thirrd.dddddddddddd Alex Rios walked and went to third on Prince Fielders single. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit into a double play, with Rios scoring. Kouzmanoff left the game after the top of the fourth with tightness in his back. Luis Sardinas entered the game at second base, with Josh Wilson moving to third. With one out in the fourth, John Jaso singled and Reddick reached base when Wilson mishandled his grounder. Sogard hit a sacrifice fly and Crisp followed with his double. Rangers relief pitcher Pedro Figueroa left the game with an apparent back injury after hitting Reddick with a pitch with two outs in the eighth. Ogando replaced him. NOTES: As OF Coco Crisp, who fell hard and bruised his ribs during Monday nights game, had X-Rays taken that were negative. ... As LHP Eric OFlaherty (Tommy John surgery) threw all his pitches at full distance during a bullpen session, encouraging As manager Bob Melvin to ask if he was available for an inning. . The As rejected the Oakland-Alameda County Authoritys 10-year lease proposal. ... RHP Sonny Gray (3-0, 1.80) pitches for the As in Wednesdays matinee game and will make his first start against the Rangers. He is currently 6-0 over his last eight starts dating to last year. ... LHP Martin Perez (3-0, 1.86) will take the mound for the Rangers. He has not allowed a run over his past 17 innings. He will be making his sixth start against the As, his most against any team. ... RHP Colby Lewis (1-1, 4.22) is set to start Fridays game in Seattle but the rest of the weekend rotation is in a state of flux, with LHP Robbie Ross, LHP Matt Harrison, currently on the DL with a back problem, and RHP Yu Darvish all in the mix. ' ' '
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