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Capitals top Blackhawks 3-2 in Winter Classic

January 2, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest NHL outdoor game had a cliffhanger ending Thursday, with Troy Brouwer scoring with 12.9 seconds remaining to give the Washington Capitals a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the league’s annual showcase.

The seventh Winter Classic featured a replica of the Capitol in center field at Nationals Park, through which the players entered the ballpark. They stood on a sheet of blue ice meant to represent the Reflecting Pool during the nation anthem, then faced off under a gorgeous blue sky.

The sun’s glare on the white ice of the main rink made it difficult to see the puck, and Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner made good on his plan to play the game wearing sunglasses.

Eric Fehr, who scored twice in the rain during the 2011 Winter Classic win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field, scored off a breakaway in the first period to give the Capitals the lead, before Alex Ovechkin made it 2-0 by knocking in a rebound.

In the second period, Patrick Sharp launched a sun-to-shade slap shot that beat goalie Braden Holtby on a power play for Chicago’s first goal, before Brandon Saad took a feed from Jonathan Toews to tie the score at 2.

The deciding goal resulted from a sequence that had all the makings of a makeup call. After Washington’s Matt Niskanen was sent off for a marginal boarding penalty with 3:11 to play, Toews was cited for an even more dicey hooking infraction with 1:13 remaining.

The Capitals capitalized in a wild sequence in which Saad slashed Ovechkin’s stick in the left circle. As Ovechkin raised his hands to make sure the officials saw the penalty, Brouwer — who was trailing behind — pounced on the loose puck and drove in the winning shot to the delight of the 42,832 fans at Nationals Park.

Elsewhere, Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll scored 53 seconds apart late in the third period to rally the Los Angeles Kings past the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.

Williams tied the game on a power-play goal with 2:07 left before Stoll scored the winner with 1:14 to go.

Dwight King had the other goal for Los Angeles, which got 14 saves from Jonathan Quick.

Radim Vrbata had a goal and an assist, and Alexandre Burrows also scored for Vancouver. Ryan Miller stopped 37 shots.

The Canucks carried a 2-1 lead into the third despite being outshot 30-10 through two periods, and Miller had to be sharp again 5 minutes in on a shot from Stoll on a 3-on-2 rush.