'Blackhawks vs. Capitals' NHL's two best on ice this Sunday on NBC


Coming off the Olympics people are in love with hockey – who do you think will win this ice match up? The Chicago Blackhawks, currently second in the Western Conference with 91 points, host the Washington Capitals, who lead the league and the Eastern Conference with 97 points, in a game between the league’s top scoring offenses at the United Center on Sunday, March 14 at 12:30 pm ET on NBC Sports.

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury on site at United Center.

Sunday’s game features the league’s top two scoring teams and some of its most prolific individual scorers. Washington tops the NHL with a 3.88 goals per game average, while Chicago is number two at 3.22. The Capitals Alexander Ovechkin leads the NHL with 92 points (44 goals, 48 assists), while the Blackhawks Patrick Kane ranks eighth with 74 (26 goals, 48 assists). The league’s top two scoring defensemen will also take the ice with Washington’s Mike Green (64 points) and Chicago’s Duncan Keith (59 points).

OLCZYK: “Once we made the announcement (about this game), I felt that it had the opportunity to possibly have 15 goals in it — two explosive offenses. A lot of it starts on the back end with guys like (defensemen) Mike Green and Duncan Keith on their respective teams. The biggest question marks for me with both of these teams is the goaltending. Is it going to be good enough and consistent enough moving forward towards the playoffs?”

CLOSE GAMES: All six of NBC Sports’ NHL games this season have been decided by one goal, and four needed extra time to determine a winner. On Sunday, March 7, the Red Wings defeated the Blackhawks in Chicago, 5-4, on the strength of five second-period goals. On Feb. 7, the Capitals defeated the Penguins, 5-4, in overtime on Mike Knuble’s goal. In the game, Sidney Crosby scored twice for Pittsburgh and Alexander Ovechkin registered a hat trick for Washington.

The week prior, on Jan. 31, the Penguins were on the winning end when they defeated the Red Wings in a Stanley Cup Final rematch, 2-1, via an overtime shootout. On Jan. 24, the Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1, on a power-play goal by Matt Cooke with 1:47 remaining. In NBC’s inaugural “Game of the Week” on Jan. 17, the Chicago Blackhawks needed a shootout to beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in Detroit. The Boston Bruins needed overtime to defeat the Flyers, 2-1, at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

NBCSPORTS.COM: NBCSports.com will again offer “Star-cam” this season, tracking a player from both teams throughout each of their shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including “Star-cam” and “Net-cam” and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.

FLEX SCHEDULING & CONSISTENT 12:30 PM ET START TIME: Again this year, “Game of the Week” broadcasts will consistently start at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for Feb. 7 and Apr. 11, Noon ET start times). For the third straight season, the NHL and NBC Sports will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. At least 13 days prior to the scheduled games, the NHL and NBC Sports will announce one of those games as the “Game of the Week” to be broadcast during the NBC Sports window. The other games will remain available to the teams’ regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC Sports’ broadcast window.

(source: NBC sports)