Photo: Mitchell Layton/NHL via Getty Images
While Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams will be hoping to come out with a win on Sunday, the Capitals will also be hoping to secure a victory on the day of the “big game”. The Caps have hosted games on Super Bowl Sunday every year since 2009. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle looks back at the Capitals’ performance on Super Bowl Sunday over the last nine seasons.
Capitals Assistant General Manager Don Fishman offered his opinion on playing Super Bowl Sundays last season saying:
“We’ve always been a team that likes the matinees on the weekend because we’re more family-oriented. On Super Bowl Sunday, if we can get an early start, it’s always a natural fit. We don’t want to compete with the Super Bowl, so we always want to get a 12:30 start. It’s a little early for some people but it gives people plenty of time to get home. It was just a natural fit for our market and I think the fans like it.”
Throughout their history, the Caps have played home games on Super Bowl Sunday 26 times, not counting this season, and have compiled a 17-8-1 record.
February 4, 2018: Washington Capitals vs Vegas Golden Knights:
On February 4, 2018, the Caps played the Vegas Golden Knights. At the time the schedule was created, nobody had any idea that it would be a preview of their eventual meeting in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals (of which the Capitals came out victorious). The main storyline of the game at the time was the fact that the Capitals’ former (and longtime) General Manager George McPhee, was now the General Manager of the Golden Knights. At the time the game took place, the Golden Knights were exceeding all expectations for an expansion team, were on top of the Pacific Division, and battling it out with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators for the best record in the NHL.
The game followed the following sequence: The Caps would score a goal and Vegas would answer back, which happened in all three periods. The game turned in Vegas’ favor when Alex Tuch scored the fourth goal with just over five minutes to go in the game, a marker that turned out to be the game-winning goal. The Capitals received goals from Chandler Stephenson, Matt Niskanan, and Nicklas Backstrom, while Vegas won on goals from Ryan Carpenter (first NHL goal), Reilly Smith (with two goals), and Tuch.
February 5, 2017: Washington Capitals vs Los Angeles Kings:
On February 5, 2017, the Caps played the Los Angeles Kings, a team the Capitals had struggled to beat over the years, with marquee names such as Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Drew Doughty. Before the game, the Capitals honored captain Alex Ovechkin, who had recently recorded his 1000th career point.
The game was dominated by the Capitals from the start, with the team shutting out Los Angeles in a lopsided contest. The Caps received goals from Lars Eller, Marcus Johansson, Brett Connolly, T.J. Oshie, and Justin Williams en route to a 5-0 victory
February 7, 2016: Washington Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers
On February 7, 2017, the Caps played their division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. At that time, the Caps were in first place and on their way to winning the franchise’s second President’s Trophy. The Flyers were fighting for a wild card position, which they eventually earned by the end of that season.
In this game, Michael Del Zotto of the Flyers scored the first goal of the game, which the Caps answered during second period, with Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov scoring goals of their own. Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz tied the game up for the Flyers, which was answered with an end-to-end rush from Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen to win the game for the Caps, 3-2.
February 1, 2015: Washington Capitals vs St. Louis Blues
On February 1, 2015, the Caps played the St. Louis Blues, one of the strongest teams in the Central Division and Western Conference at the time. The first period saw Alexander Steen score for the Blues, while Ovechkin answered for the Capitals. The second period featured goals by both Ovechkin and Steen, but then-Blues (and current Capitals) forward Dmitrij Jaskin put the Blues ahead 3-2 before the second intermission. During the third period, Vladimir Tarasenko scored to put the Blues ahead 4-2. Then-Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner scored for the Caps to make the score 4-3, but it was not enough as the Blues came out of the game with a 4-3 victory.
February 2, 2014: Washington Capitals vs Detroit Red Wings
On February 2, 2014, the Caps played the Detroit Red Wings, one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NHL and who, at the time, was still in the midst of their record playoff appearance streak.
In the first period, the Caps received goals from Jason Chimera, Joel Ward, and John Carlson while the Red Wings were only able to muster one goal. In both the second and third periods, the Red Wings would receive two more goals from Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist (who scored in both the second and third), and the Capitals receiving another goal from Ward in the second and Troy Brouwer in the third. The two teams were tied 5-5 at the end of a regulation and the Capitals won on a power play goal from Ovechkin in overtime.
February 3, 2013: Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins
On February 3, 2013, the Caps played the Pittsburgh Penguins, who they had faced previously on Super Bowl Sunday. The game had started off in see-saw fashion, with the Penguins and Caps trading goals during the first period and the early part of the second period. The second period, however, ended up with Pittsburgh scoring three unanswered goals, while the third period featured one power play goal for each team, with the final score being 6-3 in favor of the the Pens.
The Capitals received goals from Mike Green, John Carlson, and Mike Ribiero, while the Penguins won on goals from Chris Kunitz (who had four of the six goals), Matt Cooke, and Kris Letang.
February 5, 2012: Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins
On February 5, 2012, the Caps played the Boston Bruins who were the then-defending Stanley Cup champions and still having a fine season, as they were the best team in the Northeast Division. This game was anything but good for the Capitals, as Boston scored two goals during the first period, by Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand. They added another goal by Tyler Seguin in the third period. Marcus Johansson scored a goal for the Caps but Rich Peverley added an empty-net goal to secure the 4-1 win for Boston.
February 6, 2011: Washington Capitals vs the Pittsburgh Penguins
On February 6, 2011, the Caps played the Pittsburgh Penguins which was their second consecutive matchup for Super Bowl Sunday. That year was an All Caps result. The Caps scored one goal in each of the three period while the Penguins scored none. The goals were scored by Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson (a shortie), and Mike Knuble (empty net). The final score was 3-0 in favor of the Caps.
February 7, 2010: Washington Capitals vs the Pittsburgh Penguins
On February 7, 2010, the Caps played the Pittsburgh Penguins at a time when a major snowstorm had hit much of the East Coast, including the Washington D.C. area. Many airline flights had been cancelled so the Penguins ended up flying to New Jersey and, from there, took a bus to Washington, D.C. and not arriving to their hotel until about 2:00 A.M..
However, the Penguins looked better in the early part of the game as captain Sidney Crosby scored two first period goals, including one on the power play. Ovechkin scored about midway through the second period to put the Caps within one goal. followed by two goals from Jordan Staal to give the Pens a commanding 4-1 lead. Eric Fehr scored near the end of the second to make the score 4-2, and in the third period Ovechkin scored twice to even up the score and complete the hat trick. Then-Penguins blueliner Brooks Orpik took a penalty for Pittsburgh, which put the Caps on a power play. Mike Knuble scored on the ensuing power play to give the Caps a 5-4 come-from-behind win. The fans also won free buffalo wings from Glory Days, who had a promotion at the time in which they gave out free buffalo wings when the Caps scored five or more goals.
February 1, 2009: Washington Capitals vs Ottawa Senators
On February 1, 2009, the Caps played the Ottawa Senators. There is no record of whether the game was a nationally televised game on NBC or not, as, prior to the season, the Caps were likely not perceived as a “glamour” team as they had barely squeaked into the playoffs the previous season. Even still, the game was played at noon on Super Sunday.
In this game, Ottawa opened the scoring up on a Daniel Alfredsson goal. The Capitals then scored four unanswered goals before Ottawa scored again. After that, the Caps countered with two more goals. Ottawa scored two more goals but it was too little too late, especially when the Caps added an empty net goal. The Capitals won on goals from Mike Green, Ovechkin (who had a hat trick), Eric Fehr, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom. The Sens received two goals from Alfredsson, as well as goals from Antoine Vermette and Dany Heatley. The final score was 7-4 in favor of the Caps.
February 3, 2008:
The Caps did not play on Super Bowl Sunday in 2008.
In addition to playing on Super Bowl Sunday in 2019, the Caps have played on Super Bowl Sunday in each of the last ten seasons, usually being the marquee matchup that was nationally televised on NBC, with the games beginning at 12:00 or 12:30 P.M. They have won six of them and lost four. Their wins came against the Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins (twice), Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, and Los Angeles Kings. Their losses have come against the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, and Vegas Golden Knights. Two of the Capitals’ wins were in overtime, one against Pittsburgh in 2011 and one against Detroit in 2014. Two featured hat tricks from Alex Ovechkin, one coming against the Senators in 2009 and against Pittsburgh in 2010.
Article from NHL.Com on Caps Super Bowl Sunday History
By Diane Doyle