Washington, DC – The 2015 NHL Winter Classic proved just that as the hometown Washington Capitals’ Troy Brouwer buried a goal with 13 seconds left in the game to capture a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The matchup was played in perfect weather for an outdoor game before 42,832 fans at Nationals Park. It was the first time the city hosted the NHL’s marquee regular season event and temperatures hovered in the low 40’s with the skies clear throughout.
“The whole day was unbelievable,” Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin said after the game. “This event was outstanding.” Ovechkin also was outstanding, scoring the Capitals’ second goal and adding an assist on Brouwer’s game-winner after taking a slash that broke his stick. He also rang two of his 13 shots off the iron. Eric Fehr had the first Washington goal.
Prior to the first puck drop both the Capitals and Blackhawks players were introduced to the crowd when they stepped out into view from behind a miniature replica of the Capitol Building, and skated down a replica of the reflecting pool on the National Mall to the rink.
Fehr encapsulated the feelings of many after the game. “I don’t get chills very often going out for games or anything like that, but when we came out of the Capitol, skating down the reflecting pool, and seeing the crowd go crazy, that was a real special moment,” Fehr said. “I thought they did an unbelievable job of what D.C. represents to this stadium and showing America what D.C. is.”
Chicago’s Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad had goals for the Blackhawks, while Jonathan Toews added an assist to make him the all-time leading points scorer in outdoor games with five.