Caps outlast rain, Pens to take Winter Classic

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Despite the weather, Fehr added his second of the night shortly after the teams switched ends at the 10-minute mark of the third period because of the somewhat uneven conditions of the ice, taking a pass from Chimera and breaking in and beating Fleury with 8:01 to play in regulation.

“I saw [Chimera] had the puck and the defense was stepping up, so I just tried to go for a rush and [he] made a good pass,” Fehr said.

Varlamov held the Penguins off the board for the remainder of the contest, making 32 stops and delivering the win.

“[Varlamov] played really well,” Fehr said. “Seemed like he was seeing the pucks. You could tell [the Penguins] were trying to get traffic in front. Our defense did a really good job of boxing out and giving him an opportunity to see most of the shots.”

“It shows that he can play in pressure situations,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said of his netminder. “He sort of just took it mentally on him that he wasn’t going to allow anything. He’s in pretty good zone right now after shutting out Montreal in the last game.”

For Washington as well, the end of the Winter Classic marks the end of having a bright spotlight on the club, with HBO’s cameras following the team around for its series “24/7: Penguins-Capitals.”

“We didn’t like them much at the beginning of the month [when the team was on an eight-game losing streak], but I think everything’s worked out,” Boudreau joked.

So, while it didn’t quite play out as people thought it would, it certainly proved to be a memorable night for the Caps and the roughly one-third of the sellout crowd who made the trip to western Pennsylvania.

“You can see, you can hear when we score goals how many people [were Washington fans]. I can see a thousand people in one spot, a thousand people upstairs; it was really unbelievable,” Ovechkin said.

And, with all the buildup to the game, it was a unique experience for the players on both teams.

“Coming down the tunnel, it’s a pretty amazing feeling,” Crosby, who also played in the 2008 Winter Classic in Buffalo, said. “Playing hockey in front of that many people, it’s something that probably none of us ever dreamed of doing. Would have been nice to be on the other side of things, but it’s still a privilege to be part of that.”

“It was pretty cool,” Boudreau said. “When you walk and you see those people in there, and whether they’re booing or cheering, it’s an experience I’ll never forget. And when you come into this kind of atmosphere and you’re playing arguably the best team in the league and you win, it was more than just a game to everybody.”

“It was one of the best feelings in my life,” Ovechkin said. “When you see it’s sold out, it’s like I can’t imagine when football players play every game like this. It’s unbelievable.”

WINTER CLASSIC NOTES: Washington’s John Erskine and Pittsburgh’s Mike Rupp were involved in the second fight in the fourth installment of the Winter Classic series, putting on a memorable bout in the first period. … Road teams have now won three out of four Winter Classics, with only Boston’s 2-1 overtime win at Fenway Park being the difference. … Washington wore a replica of its throwback jersey from its inaugural season of 1974-75, complete with red pants. Pittsburgh wore a hybrid retro jersey, combining its first logo from 1967-68 with the base of its first uniform design. … Steelers legend Jerome Bettis dropped the ceremonial first puck.

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About the Author
Ted Starkey

Ted Starkey

Ted Starkey, a Web editor for the continuous news desk, has written for and edited high-traffic websites, including AOL News, AOL Sports, FanHouse.com, USAHockey.com and BuffaloBills.com. He also has covered the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics, Stanley Cup playoffs, NFL, NHL, MLB and NCAA hockey during his career.

He is a graduate of American University, with a double major in ...

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