Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 PM ET)
It took some rescheduling, but the Winter Classic will go on. The 8PM start time will give us more time to brush off that pesky New Year’s hangover, so call the bootlegger and get your beverages because it’s game time!
Winter Classic Time Lapse is Boss
Who’s In, Who’s Out?
Big news for Penguins’ fans as Jordan Staal will play tonight. Eric Godard is likely to miss the game with a broken beak. Tom Poti will miss the 2011 Winter Classic due to a concussion he suffered versus Pittsburgh last week. Semyon Varlamov will be in goal for the Capitals.
What About The Weather?
The NHL is prepared for the lousy Pittsburgh weather, having laid out multiple contingency plans in the event that the elements prove to be too much. The players and staff insist that the rain will not become an issue, but a backup plan is never bad idea. From the Post-Gazette:
• Period and game formats could be reconfigured if there are temporary stoppages.
• The teams will switch ends at the 10:00 mark, or halfway through, each period, and, if necessary, halfway through, or at the 2:30 mark, of overtime.
• In the event of a shootout, each team chooses which end it wants to defend, and both teams can choose the same end.
• Once at least two periods have been completed, the outcome will be considered official if play can’t resume, with the team that is leading declared the winner and awarded two points in the NHL standings.
• If the game is tied after at least two periods have been completed and it is deemed that regulation won’t be completed, each team receives one point and the game goes directly to a shootout. If conditions don’t allow for a shootout at Heinz Field, it will be held Feb. 4 at Verizon Center in Washington before the teams’ regularly-scheduled game.
• If the game is called before at least two periods have been played, it will be postponed and, if possible, will be played in its entirety Sunday at Heinz Field beginning at noon. Ticketholders will need their tickets to enter Heinz Field that day.
• If the game is moved to Sunday but still can’t be played, it will be rescheduled for Consol Energy Center at a date to be determined. Fans can then get a refund for the face value of their ticket, excluding service and delivery fees. Refund information can be found on the back of the tickets.
Our Prediction: Anticipation is a motherfu**er. This is shaping up to be one for the ages, assuming everything goes on as planned. The Penguins are our favourite going into the game, and the return of Jordan Staal is a helluva boost. As is often the case, the ice conditions for the Winter Classic usually change the tempo of the game – still, it’s advantage Penguins. Crosby and the Pens win big games, we’re taking Pittsburgh with a 4-2 victory.
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