While Niemi started 64 games in the regular season, Stalock put up better numbers, especially down the stretch. That led to questions about whether Niemi will start the opener and whether McLellan will stick with him if he struggles at all against the Kings.
I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.
— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh