The 2011 NHL Winter Classic was a great hockey game played in very poor weather conditions. Even though it was just a regular season hokey game, one gets the feeling the event meant just a little bit more to both teams than the two points that were awarded to the Capitals for winning the game.
The action was nonstop and end to end for all three periods as both teams played with the physicality of a playoff game.
The Capitals continued their recent regular season domination of the Penguins. The Capitals are now 8-0-2 in their last ten games versus their most heated rival.
With all due respect to Pens fans this win was needed by a franchise that always seems to lose the games that matter to Pittsburgh. Make no mistake about this game, it mattered and to both teams.
Following last night's win Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau said "For us it was a month long buildup, where it didn't start up pretty good but this was like as close to the Stanley Cup that we've gotten," Boudreau continued, "We're not denying that it was more than just two points. It was a fabulous game. We came in wanting to win this thing, and we got lucky and did."
The Penguins with three franchise Stanley Cups and a win in the inaugural Winter Classic game in Buffalo against the Sabres noticed that the Capitals may have over stated their win just a little.
The Penguins Evegeni Malkin certainly noticed that the Capitals celebrated a little extra on the Pens home ice. "Yeah I noticed," Malkin said of the celebration, "because it's just one game of course you want to celebrate when you win, but this is not final. We still play two more times."
The two teams did not shake hands following last night's game and next meet on Super Bowl Sunday in Washington, a game once again nationally televised on NBC.
Here are eight (in honor of the winning captain) facts and of course eight opinions to match. Hope you enjoyed the Classic as much I did, Happy New Year.