Caps, ‘Hawks tied 2-2 after two periods of Winter Classic

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WASHINGTON — We’re even through two at Nationals Park.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals sit tied 2-2 through 40 minutes, after an entertaining middle frame that lacked the scoring of the opener but still provided noteworthy moments.

The first few minutes were mostly about Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, who twice drew iron. On one particularly wild sequence, Ovechkin intercepted a Duncan Keith drop pass and was stoned on a breakaway by Corey Crawford — then fired the rebound off the post.

Shortly thereafter, Chicago tied it up.

Brandon Saad scored his ninth goal of the season — on helpers from Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa — at the 3:15 mark, erasing Washington’s 2-0 lead.

Following Saad’s marker, a new trend emerged — Washington’s penalty problems.

The Caps took three in a six-minute span, including a pair that put Chicago on a 5-on-3 for nearly 90 seconds. Tom Wilson (goalie interference on Crawford) and John Carlson (high-sticking Andrew Shaw) were the guilty parties, but their teammates — and a lacklustre ‘Hawks power play — bailed them out; Chicago didn’t manage a single shot with the two-man advantage, and the Caps faithful responded to the all-important kill with a healthy round of applause.

Shots on goal finished 13-7 in Chicago’s favor for the second frame; a stark contrast from the first period, when Washington out-shot the ‘Hawks 15-13.