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Third Period Analysis

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins attempted a comeback, but the elements and the Capitals were too much to overcome.

As time expired in the second period, Sidney Crosby sustained a bone-crushing open-ice hit from Washington’s David Steckel that sent No. 87 crashing to the ice hard.
The Penguins captain gingerly skated off the ice after the play and hunched down behind the Pittsburgh bench for a few minutes in order to get his wind back. Crosby ended up walking back to the locker room of his own accord, and was back in action for his team in the third.

While Mother Nature allowed the first 40 minutes of the game to go by with relatively clear skies, she changed her mind for the final 20 minutes of play.

The rain began falling hard within the first five minutes, turning into a full-fledged downpour for the remainder of the game.

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With 10 minutes left in the third period, the two teams switched sides as a result of the pouring rain. They did that in order to ensure that each team dealt with the differing visibility and weather conditions equally.

Back in the Penguins’ first Winter Classic in 2008, Pittsburgh and Buffalo also switched ends halfway through the third period because of the falling snow that affected the players’ visibility.

Forward Eric Fehr tallied his second goal of the evening with 8:01 remaining in the period.

Defenseman John Erskine had picked a puck up behind the net and sent a quick pass to forward Jason Chimera, who was posted up on the half boards. Chimera skated up to the blue line and found a curling Fehr with a quick pass.

Fehr split the Penguins defenseman and skated the puck down the ice, beating Marc-Andre Fleury with quick wrister that banged into the top-right corner of the net for the score.

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With 3:43 left in the third, Alex Ovechkin thought he was going to put the Capitals up 4-1 when he put a puck in the back of the net.

The play, however, was whistled no goal when the refs determined Ovechkin had interfered with Fleury behind the net.

Fleury had gone behind the net to play the puck, and the two players got tangled up before Ovechkin recovered first, darting back into the slot to one-time a pass into the open net from a teammate.

The no-goal call ensured that Ovechkin was held without a point. Crosby was also held without a point, leaving the two players each deadlocked at 571 career points.
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