D.C. Thriller: Brouwer the hero as Caps beat ‘Hawks in Winter Classic

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WASHINGTON — In the end, the ‘Hawks got beat by one of their own.

Troy Brouwer, who spent the first five years of his career in Chicago, scored with 13 seconds left to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 win at the 2015 Winter Classic.

Brouwer’s heroics came with the Caps on the man advantage, on something of a broken play — Alex Ovechkin’s stick shattered (courtesy a Brandon Saad slash) on his original shot and the puck went to Brouwer, who made no mistake firing past Corey Crawford.

Not captured in that video was an angry Jonathan Toews. The Chicago captain was bitterly displeased with his hooking call on Karl Alzner that led to the game-winning goal, and let the officials know about it while skating off the ice following the game.

For the Capitals, though, no matter. They were elated and, with the win, became the first team in NHL history to win two Winter Classics.

The contest was entertaining from tip to tail. In front of a crowd of 42,832, the Caps and ‘Hawks put on a good show hat featured a small, early wrinkle; at the 10-minute mark of the opening frame, the two sides switched ends to balance out the sun and glare factor.

That first period was also notable for the volume of scoring — three goals in the opening 14 minutes.

Eric Fehr kicked things off at the 7:01 mark, converting nicely on an unassisted breakaway to become the NHL’s all-time leader in outdoor game scoring, with three career tallies.

Nearly five minutes later, Washington doubled its lead when captain Alex Ovechkin, slammed him his 18th of the season on assists from Mike Green and Jack Hillen. The goal pushed Ovechkin into a tie for sixth in the NHL in goals, along with Toronto’s Phil Kessel and his Winter Classic opponent on the day — Patrick Kane.

Speaking of Kane, he played a key role in staging Chicago’s comeback. No. 88 notched an assist on Patrick Sharp’s power play tally at 13:36 of the opening frame, one that cut Washington’s lead to one.

Saad evened things up at two just 3:15 into the second period, and the score stayed knotted until Brouwer’s late heroics.

Notes

With his assist on Saad’s goal, Toews became the NHL’s all-time leading scorer in outdoor games, with two goals and five points in three contests… Multi-point efforts were put forth by Ovechkin (one goal, one assist) and Green (two assists)… The two teams finished with 35 shots each… Chicago went 1-for-6 on the power play, but will lament not capitalizing on a length 5-on-3 in the second period… the ‘Hawks failed to register a shot on goal with the two-man advantage.