ST. LOUIS - When it comes to memorable moments, there isn’t one much bigger than scoring the game-winning goal in the dying seconds of the Winter Classic.
Ask Troy Brouwer - he knows. He scored one exactly one year ago today at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Locked in a 2-2 tie in the final minute, Brouwer picked up a loose puck, performed a nice spin-o-rama and beat Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford with a quick release to give his Capitals a 3-2 lead with only 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation.
“I just remember we had the neutral zone face-off with the PP, and we knew we didn’t have a whole lot of time,” Brouwer said, recalling the goal. “We were just trying to get a shot on goal or an attempt at the net. I didn’t really see it go in, but with that many people at the game, you can hear it right away. The guys on the ice were screaming - probably a little bit more high-pitched than we normally would - it was a great moment.”
Brouwer, an avid baseball fan who enjoys visiting different ballparks throughout the summer, never pictured himself as the hero in a baseball stadium.
“To have an impact on a big game, one that’s hyped up quite a bit more than others, it’s a special moment and special feeling I’ll have forever,” Brouwer said.
The 30-year-old Blues forward has actually played in two Winters Classics - he dressed for the Blackhawks in 2009 at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
“It’s weird, actually,” Brouwer said of playing in an outdoor game. “You’re so used to fans sitting on top of you in a hockey rink, but when a cheer comes in (during a Winter Classic), it takes a second to reach you because you’re so isolated away from the crowd. The depth perception is off, but to be able to look around and see how many people are there and how excited everybody is, it’s a special feeling.”
The 2016 Winter Classic features an original-six matchup between the Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The puck drops at noon on NBC.