This year's Winter Classic was a prime-time hit on New Year's day, but it wasn't planned that way.
What was supposed to be an afternoon meeting between two NHL powerhouses, the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins, had to be delayed because of harsh winter weather at Heinz Field in Pennsylvania.
The planned 1 p.m. game was moved to 8 p.m. EST, right into prime time.
According to Sports Media Watch, "NBC won the night on broadcast in the adults 18-49 demographic for Saturday's NHL Winter Classic, according to preliminary numbers."
The Capitals were able to clamp down on the home-team Penguins because of the strong play of their starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who gave up only one goal in the game and made 32 saves.
Another reason for the Penguins' inability to score was because of this hit by Caps forward David Steckel. With that hit, Steckel took down the Penguins' best offensive weapon.
"I didn't even know that I hit him," Steckel told the Washington Post. "I was coming back with the three-on-three, and when the puck went the other way I was facing one way and I came back joined the rush. I didn't even know it was him until I looked back. I haven't even seen the hit yet, obviously it wasn't intentional. I was just trying to get up to the play, and he was there when I turned around, I guess."
Crosby, the Pittsburgh captain, was clearly in pain as the second period came to an end. The Penguins were unable to score in the third period, and the Capitals won the game 3-1.
"I couldn't even tell you what happened. I think the puck was going the other way and I turned and the next thing I know, I am down," said Crosby after the game. "I can't really comment on it. It's pretty far behind the play. Maybe the refs didn't even see it. A lot of people didn't, but I don't know. Got in my head, that's for sure, but I don't even know how it developed."