20:00: At 8:12 p.m. EDT, the Winter Classic begins. Beagle wins the faceoff from Crosby.
19:42: Malkin is denied in tight by Varlamov.
18:32: Mike Knuble attempts to jam in a backhander from behind the net. Fleury holds it out.
18:20: Scott Hannah puts a shot on net. No dice.
18:02: As officials repair a piece of glass behind the Penguins net following a hit by Ovechkin on Zbynek Michalek, Pierre McGuire talks about how the heated benches had to be turned off as it was affecting the ice. We would suggest McGuire needs to keep the hot air coming out of his mouth down.
16:20: Mike Green snaps off a wrister from the slot wide to the glove side on Fleury.
15:47: If there are any concerns about Jordan Staal physically, he quiets them a bit as he drops Matt Henricks with a slight check from behind into the right wing boards in Washington's zone.
15:20: Paul Martin is sent off for hooking. Michalek, Craig Adams, Maxime Talbot and Brooks Orpik take the ice.
13:54: Staal pushes the puck up the left wing, fends off a check from Carlson and whips a wrister on net shorthanded. Varlamov fights it off. Pascal Dupuis jumps on the rebound but is denied by Varlamov as well.
13:20: The rest of Martin's penalty is killed.
12:48: Crosby tries to deke inside and outside on Carlson in the slot but the Capitals defenseman holds them off.
11:52: Jay Beagle is denied in tight by Fleury on a scramble. Fans chant "FLERRRR-EEEEEE! FLERRRR-EEEEE!"
11:39: Crosby tries to cut up the slot by Green with the puck. Green hauls him down in the crease. Officials send Green to the penalty box. That could've been a penalty shot. Regardless, Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Kris Letang and Martin take the ice.
11:13: Martin pumps a one-timer from the right point. Varlamov steers it away.
10:33: Letang chops a slapper from the left point. Varlamov snags it.
9:42: Tyler Kennedy is denied in tight by Varlamov.
9:39: The Green minor expires. The Penguins had a few decent chances. Staal did not get any time on the power play.
8:08: Our first fight of the night is between Mike Rupp and John Erskine behind the Capitals net following a collision. Rupp lands a big right early which makes anyone in a blue, white, red or black jersey go "Oooohhhhh!" They exchange some major blows and put on quite a show before tiring out. Officials step in. Terrible Towels are whipping around. Wow!
-During a commercial stoppage, Dan Bylsma is shown rocking a sweet fedora and letterman jacket ensemble:
8:01: Off the ensuing faceoff, Cooke has a wrister turned away by Varlamov.
6:43: A wrister by Carlson from the right point clinks off the near post.
5:36: Letestu spins and whips a wrister from the slot. It clinks off the post as well. Some scares here.
4:35: Carlson has been pretty active. He has another wrister turn away by Fleury.
2:49: Letang chops a slapper from the right point turnd away
2:45: Knuble tries to send Ovechkin to the races with a pass across two zones but Orpik reads the play perfectly and intercepts the pass.
2:39: Ovechkin gains the offensive zone down the slot. He winds up for a slapper but falls. That prompts quite a bit of laughter.
1:28: During a stoppage, a young fan is shown holding up a drawing of Boudreau with food on his face. Wow. That gets a lot of laughter.
1:02: Dupuis drops Jeff Schulz with a solid hit in the neutral zone.
0:59: Fleury eats up a slapper by Beagle.
0:02: Letestu tries to backhand a shot off a feed from the left wing. Varlamov fends it off as time expires.
0:00: End of period. Capitals 0, Penguins 0.
-Pretty awesome stuff. The ice isn't ideal, or doesn't appear to be at least, and these teams are still going at it. Big time. Plenty of skating. Plenty of hitting. Plenty of shots.
-The stick handling and passing seems to be a victim of the conditions. Very, very slick out. The official game temperature is 51.7 degrees.
-Both goaltenders have been sharp. They've faced plenty of quality shots. Plenty of screens.
-We'd be lying if we said we noticed Jordan Staal much. His ice time has been limited. His numbers are good. He has 4:29 of ice time on seven shifts, two shot and is 5 for 6 in faceoffs (83 percent).
-The Penguins lead in shots, 16-12.
-Letang leads the game with three shots.
-Nicklas Backstrom and Jay Beagle each lead the Capitals with two.
-Carlson leads the game with 9:21 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 7:56.
-The Penguins ahve a 14-12 edge in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Staal leads the Penguins going 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Johansson is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Schultz leads the game with two blocked shots.
-The Boudreau "Saucy Face" by way of The Pensblog:
-The Rupp-Erskine fight was the second in Winter Classic history. Last year, Philadelphia's Daniel Carcillo went at it with Boston's Shawn Thornton:
18:59: Off a deflected puck off Michlaek's leg at the blue line, Ovechkin gets behind the defense and is off on a mini breakaway. He moves in on Fleury goes forehand and is denied by Fleury's left leg. Wow! Shades of May 2009:
17:55: Cooke and Backstrom have a collision at the Penguins' blue line. Cooke doesn't win and is slow to recover to his feet.
17:47: Letang banks a puck out of the denfesnive zone. Green fails to keep it in the zone. Malkin picks it up in the neutral zone, moves in on net, fends off Erskine and rips a wrister through Varlamov's five hole. Malkin skates over to the right wing boards and jumps on to the ledge in front ofhis bench to celebrate with everyone. This place goes nuts. Terrible towels everywhere. Letang and Fleury (HUH!?!?) get assists. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 1-0.
17:01: Letestu shoves Brooks Liach from behind the hash marks. Laich reacts like Chris Pronger shoved him with the benefit of front loader. He loses balance and falls into Fleury dislodging the net. That's two minutes for goaltenders interference. Martin, Letang, Crosby, Kunitz and Malkin take the ice.
15:49: Martin chops a slapper from the top of the slot. It hits a body or two and deflects widde.
15:11: Cooke drops Green with a blindside shoulder to shoulder hit behind the Capitals net.
15:01: Laich's penalty is killed.
14:04: Talbot is called for holding Ovechkin in in the neutral zone. Orpik, Dupuis, Staal, Michalek.
13:06: Who the heck else but Mike Knuble scores here? Green fans on a shot from the left circle. Backstrom keeps the rebound in the crease. Knuble has set up a mailing address and basically digs like a miner to push the puck under Fleury and into the net. That's his 10th consecutive game with a point against the Penguins. Backstrom and Green get assists. Capitals 1, Penguins 1.
11:19: Goligoski is hit behind the Penguins net and run over by Steckel.
10:50: We have a little drizzle falling now.
8:49: Fleury's stickhandling scares the world again. He leaves the crease to play a puck behind his own net but fails to recognize Johansson approaching from the rear. Johansson circle to the left wing and deals to Chimera moving up the left wing. Chimera circles with Fleury swimming (literally perhaps) in his own crease and has a clean open net to punch in a forehand shot but Orpik appears to get his stick on it. Fleury owes Orpik a beer.
5:39: Apparently one of the officials' microphones is "keyed up" on the public address system. We're hearing tons of "conversation" on the ice like "Sticks down!" and such.
5:15: Huh? Fleury's faulty stickhandling finally bikes the Penguins. He fails to cleanly handle a dump in behind the net and turns it over to Johansson. Johansson immediately turns and deals to Fehr moving in from the right circle. Fehr hurries and pumps the puck into the empty cage. That. Was. Ugly. Fleury is a bad puck handler on good ice. Johansson gets the only assist. Fleury could make a case for one. Capitals 2-1.
4:23: Talbot tries to backhand a loose puck in the slot but is hauled down by Erksine. That's two minutes. Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
3:58: A one-timer by Malkin off the righ half wall is denied by Varlamov.
2:23: The Erskine penalty is killed. Not much going on there for the Penguins.
2:11: Chimera snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Fleury fends it off.
1:29: Letang catches Ovehkin with a
0:34: Controversy. Adams leads a rush up the left wing and gains the offensive zone. He pulls up in the faceoff circle and snaps off a wrister. Just as Varlamov absorbs it, Green nudges Rupp throught the crease. Rupp clips Varlamov a bit and the puck squirts through into the net. Officials immediately wave off the goal and cite incidental contact. The call is legit.
0:06: Crosby and a defender accidently clip knees in the right wing circle in the right wing circle. We think it's Steckel but NBC's replay is horrible and you can't cleanly make out the number.
0:00: End of period. Crosby is slow to recover to his feet. That hit was a total accident. Trainer Chris Stewart attends to him. He eventually makes his way off the ice and to the locker room. Capitals 2, Penguins 1.
-Things opened up there a bit. More scoring obviously. But the conditions appeared to play a bigger role as play bogged down a bit.
-Fleury's stickhandling was really poor this period. He's just as bad with the puck underwater.
--No word yet on Crosby. Still no replay during the intermission from NBC. But hey, we got to see Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis shoot pucks!!!!
-CBC has a view of the hit. And from a (GASP!!!) reverse angle:
-Head shot. But it appeared accidentally. Not sure if that weighs in when Colin Campbell's bizarre logic for discipline is involved.
-The Capitals lead in shots, 28-24.
-Ovechkin leads the game with five.
-Crosby lead the Penguins with four.
-Carlson leads the game with 18:28 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 17:20.
-The Capitals have a 25-21 lead in shots (54 percent).
-Johansson is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Staal is 7 for 10 (70 percent)
-Schultz leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Martin and Letang each lead the Penguins with two blocked shots.
-Attendance is announced as 68,111.
-Styx rocks out with "Renegade:"
16:31: The rain is really visible for the first time tonight from the press box.
15:30: The ice is really starting too look bad with water collecting from this rain fall:
15:21: Orpik does a nice job to keep a puck in at the left point and chops it on net. Varlamov makes the initial save then denies Cooke and Malkin in tight.
13:50: NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell is talking to officials. He has the final say on any sort of rain delays or stoppage.
12:32: We get to see what the Penguins' power play looks like underwater as Mike Knuble is sent off for delay of game after he flipped a puck out of play. Letang, Goligoski, Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz take the ice.
10:00: Play is stopped so teams can switch sides and the ice can be cleaned.
9:08: A "LET'S GO PENS!" chant rain (lame pun, sorry) down.
8:09: Martin chops a half slapper and about three gallons of water from the right point. Varlamov fends it off.
8:01: That's probably the game right there. Fehr gets deep in on the left wing and behind the defense. He moves in and snaps off a wrister by Fleury on the glove side. Chimera and Erskine get assists. Capitals 3-1.
5:26: During a stoppage, a stronger, last-ditch "LET'S GO PENS!" chant begins.
4:22: Malkin drops Hedricks at the Capitals blue line. The each slide about 10 feed like they're on a SlipN Slide.
3:43: And the Capitals lose a goal. A clearing attempt by Fleury is intercepted by Backstrom on the right wing wall. Ovechkin and Fleury get tangled up a bit. Fleury takes a spill. Ovechkin has an empty net to shoot into. He scores and celebrates. An official immediately waves it off citing incidental contact.
2:07: A slapper by Goligoski is wide on the far side.
1:28: Dupuis has a slapper from slot blocked wide.
1:15: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:00.6: A small scrum behind the Capitals' net takes place with Crosby and Kennedy in the middle of it. Before a faceoff can take place, all five players on the ice get in a srum. Kunitz and Ovechkin break off. Still no penalties. The officials just want to get out of here.
0:00: End of game. Capitals 3, Penguins 1.
-Forget the loss. Forget losing to a rival. Forget the rain. Forget NBC. This was a celebration of the sport. This was a celebration of the sports presence in this city and this region.
-We don't know how much weight you can put into this game. You're obviously either happy or mad depending on what jersey you put on, but it was played in conditions unlike any in the history of the NHL. We don't think you can get to excited as a Capitals fan or too disgrunted as a Penguins fan.
-The Penguins' power play. Yeah, it didn't do much, but really, how can you fairly judge it tonight when 10-gallons of water are displaced when Paul Martin tries to make tape to tape passes with Kris Letang?
-Obviously, the big play was the disallowed goal by Mike Rupp. It was the right call. Even if Green made contact with him. It's incidental contact.
-Fleury's puck handling was an issue obviously. But again, deficiencies like that were amplified by the condititons.
-Jordan Staal was really good defensively considering the circumstances. It was his first game in seven months. The ice wasn't ideal. He was physical, he was strong on the draw and he just looked confident.
-Skating was an issue. And for players like Crosby and Ovechkin, skating is key. That part of their game was nullified somewhat.
-Regarding his hit to the head by Steckel, Crosby said: "I couldn't even tell you what happened. I think the puck was going the other way. And I turned and next thing I know, I am down. I can't really comment on it. It's pretty far behind the play. Maybe the refs didn't see it. A lot of people didn't But I don't even know. Got in my head that's for sure. But I don't even know how it developed."
-Crosby on the ice: "The conditions were alright. I think when it started to come dow pretty good there, you coudl see the puck started to bounce even a little bit more."
-Just saying: The Penguins have lost the last two games they did not have Chris Conner in the lineup. Their last loss without him was that 7-4 debacle of a loss to the Bruins, Nov. 10.
-Give the Capitals credit. They played a pretty simple game. They didn't try to get too complicated with the puck. They adjusted to the conditions a lot better than the Penguins.
-The Penguins had a 33-32 lead in shots.
-Letang lead the game with seven.
-Ovechkin led the Capitals with six.
-Letang led the game with 27:06 of ice time.
-Carlson led the Capitals with 26:28.
-Faceoffs were even, 33-33 (50 percent).
-Staal was 11 for 18 (61 percent).
-Backstrom was 10 for 16 (63 percent)
-Schultz led the game with four blocked shots.
-Deryk Engelland and Kris Letang each led the Penguins with two blocked shots.
-Crosby and Ovechkin were each shutout in the same game was a 2-0 Penguins home win, Feb. 3, 2007.