The puck drops at 1 pm eastern at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C, the home of the 2015 Winter Classic. The Chicago Blackhawks will be taking on the Washington Capitals. Here’s a few things to focus on heading into the game.
There has been some concern over the start time of the game, only because of the glare the sun may cause off of the ice. An issue that the NHL has experienced at past outdoor games including past Winter Classics, that will be something to definitely keep an eye on tomorrow. Some players have worn sun glasses in the past to deal with the glare and the NHL said players are allowed to do so if they think it could help. The NHL’s ice chief had this to say when speaking with Comcast Sportnet.
The Blackhawks come into this game with a record of 24-10, they are leading the Central division. They are 7-2 in their last 10 games and are on a two game win streak. Chicago is again one of the best teams in the league, led by right winger Patrick Kane the Blackhawks are third in the league in scoring. They aren’t too shabby at the defensive end either, surrendering just 2.1 goals per game which also happens to be tops in the league. Washington will have their hands full trying to stop Kane and company from scoring, they will also have to deal with the best penalty kill unit in the NHL. Chicago doesn’t give up much when they are down a man, yet alone full strength.
Washington isn’t doing as well as Chicago, but they are starting to round into form as of late. The Capitals are third in the Metropolitan division and just one point ahead of the Rangers in the Conference, good enough to be in one of the wild card positions if the playoffs were to start today. Washington has won four of their last six games and Braden Holtby has been in a zone lately, the Capitals blanked the Penguins last week and he played a huge role in that win with 30 plus saves. Alex Ovechkin is still the same dangerous goal scorer he’s always been and Nicklas Backstrom has continued to make plays for himself and others this season. Chicago will be tested whenever Washington has a power play, the Capitals are fifth in converting power play opportunities.
It should be a great game, there just feels like something is missing. This Winter Classic doesn’t have that ‘rivalry’ feel to it and that’s why it lacks a certain buzz this year, Nationals Park is sold out so folks will definitely be in the stands and tuned in. Who do you having this year’s Winter Classic and why? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!!