Looking back on the history of the Capitals and Super Bowl Sunday, including one game in 2010

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 23: Pascal Dupuis #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battles for position against Mike Knuble #22 of the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on December 23, 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Super Bowl Sunday has become a de facto holiday in the United States. All across the country, Americans get together to watch the two teams fight for the NFL Championship. 

But there is another yearly tradition that falls on this day, and that is the “annual” Super Bowl Sunday matinee game for the Washington Capitals.

When the puck drops tomorrow against Ottawa, it will be the 14th straight year that Washington has hosted an afternoon game on Super Bowl Sunday. The Senators will be the third team to participate in this unofficial tradition more than once (Pittsburgh and Boston).

Beginning in 2009, some of these games have been epic showdowns with rivals. Others have been clunkers of games that hardly register a memory for Caps fans. Here are some fun facts about the Capitals on Super Sunday.

The Caps are 6-7 in the previous 13 years, but that record is due to losses in the last four years. Overall, the Capitals have faced eight different teams. Washington won each of the first three years, including consecutive wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Their largest victory was a 5-0 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings in 2017. Their biggest loss is a tie between a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh in 2013, and a 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last year.

Looking back on these games, there is one that stands out among the rest. Let’s take a look back at the incredible game that took place in 2010.

The world was gearing up to watch Peyton Manning lead the Indianapolis Colts against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. However, before any football was played, the hockey world descended upon the Nation’s Capital for a showdown between the Capitals and Penguins on NBC.

Actually, the hockey world TRIED to descend upon Washington. That was easier said than done as a major snowstorm covered the District of Columbia with roughly 2 feet of snow falling in the DMV area.

This made commuting to the Verizon Center increasingly difficult with above ground Metro stations closed. Due to this, the start of the game was rather quiet. The Penguins took advantage of this and raced out to a 2-0 lead that they held after the first period.

Things looked even bleaker when Pittsburgh responded to an Alex Ovechkin goal with two tallies of their own to lead 4-1. Eric Fehr was able to get a goal back and keep momentum from spinning out of control. The tide began to turn in Washington’s favor after the Caps killed off a 2-man disadvantage.

This penalty kill provided a spark to the team, as well as the swarm of Caps fans that had finally made their way inside. Despite trailing by two goals, the Caps headed into intermission smelling of confidence.

That confidence yielded results as Ovechkin scored his second of the game with a backhanded rebound to get past Marc-Andre Fleury. Less than five minutes later, Ovi completed the heat trick with a laser off of a faceoff win to tie the game at 4.

Once the game entered overtime, it was all Washington. The fans erupted when they thought Ovechkin scored his fourth goal of the game. This shot actually hit the post, but it surprised so many off the ice, as well as on the ice, that Mike Knuble was left alone in front of goal to tuck home the rebound and the comeback was complete.

This win was the last of a 14-game winning streak for the Caps that season. Washington would go one to capture the President’s Trophy before a playoff series with Montreal and I can’t remember how that ended…..

Capitals fans celebrated, then trekked home in the snow to watch some football. It was indeed a great day for Washington hockey.

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  • I have been a Washington Capitals fan my entire life as I am a DMV native. My Favorite player is Alex Ovechkin (of course) and my favorite hockey moment is Troy Brouwer’s game winner in the 2015 Winter Classic.


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