While most of NHL sits out Super Bowl Sunday, Caps play on

Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin shoots the puck against the Wild

For the 15th straight season, Super Bowl Sunday will include a dose of Capitals hockey.

Washington is set to host the San Jose Sharks at 1:30 p.m. ET, five hours before the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles square off in Glendale, Arizona. The Capitals have made it an annual tradition to treat their home fans to a live sporting event on the day of the Super Bowl.

Overall, the Capitals are 17-13-2 on Super Bowl Sundays with their total of 32 such games bested only by the Montreal Canadiens (36). After those two teams there’s a significant gap. Tied for third are the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers, both of whom have played 20 times.

There will be only four NHL games played this year on Super Bowl Sunday, two of which will feature the usual suspects Capitals and Canadiens. The Seattle Kraken will play their first such game in franchise history against the Flyers, who will hope to give Philadelphia two wins to celebrate.

Even though the Super Bowl takes center stage nationally, the Capitals have enjoyed their fair share of exciting games as well.

Feb. 7, 2010 was perhaps the most memorable, a contest dubbed the “Snovechkin” game when a snowstorm dumped nearly 18 inches on the D.C.-metro area. The Capitals played on and a raucous crowd still made it out to the arena to watch as Alex Ovechkin netted a hat trick and helped complete a 5-4 comeback win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime.

Super Bowl Sundays have often seen Ovechkin at his best. The Russian winger has 12 goals and 19 points in 15 such games, both of which trail only Hall of Famer Phil Esposito for the most goals (16) and points (32) on Super Bowl Sundays in NHL history. Center Nicklas Backstrom also ranks third in assists (12) behind only Esposito (16) and Johnny Bucyk (13).


Other notable results include a 6-5 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings in 2014, when who else but Ovechkin scored the game-winner in extra time, and the 6-4 win over the Penguins on Jan. 26, 1992 — the day the then-Redskins won their third Super Bowl in nine years to cap off the Joe Gibbs dynasty.

Lately, the Capitals have struggled to pick up the pre-Super Bowl win, dropping each of their last five such games including a 1-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in 2019 that preceded the New England Patriots beating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 — the last time an NHL team won on the same day their regional NFL franchise secured the Lombardi Trophy.

When the Capitals win, the NFC has historically performed better. The NFC is 11-6 in the Super Bowl following Capitals wins but just 7-6 when they lose. However, there is some hope for local fans who will be rooting against the Commanders’ division rival Eagles: The Denver Broncos (2016) and Patriots (2017) got the W after each of the Capitals’ two most recent such wins.