NHL Spectator Plaza – Jan. 1

The official NHL pre-game event for fans, the Spectator Plaza features a free festival held at The Fairgrounds event space just outside of Nationals Park from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The Plaza offers numerous hockey-related activities, like the Bridgestone Experience, where fans can show off their virtual slap shot and play the latest hockey video games. Grab your camera because the GEICO Gecko and Oscar Mayer Wienermobile will be on hand for photo-ops. In addition to the nearly 20 on-site activities will be live music provided by local ska cover band Party Like It’s.

A bonus caveat: Duff Goldman, chef and owner of Charm City Cakes, will be on site with a special treat in tow. Keep up with Goldman on NHL.com, as the hockey fan shares commentary leading up to New Year’s Day.

Rock the Riverfront – Jan. 1

The neighborhood will stay abuzz all day long on game day (Jan. 1) as local radio station 106.7 The Fan will host the free event, ‘Rock the Riverfront,’ at the Canal Park Ice Rink. The radio station will be broadcasting live above Park Tavern before, during and after the game. In addition to ice skating, experience includes live music, former Caps players, food, craft brews from DC Brau, the Red Rockers and Slapshot.

Where to Watch the Game

If you’re sticking around the Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard neighborhood, head to Bluejacket brewery, which will open at 10 a.m. and offer a special menu for the game. Modern, eco-friendly restaurant Park Tavern will open at 11 a.m., and includes the Rock the Riverfront festivities (above). Otherwise, sports bars across the city will also be broadcasting the game, which will be shown live on NBC at 1 p.m.

Players to Watch from the Capitals: Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. This dynamic duo has been the driving force behind the team’s success over the past eight years, including a President’s Trophy (awarded to the team with the NHL’s best record) in 2009 and six straight playoff appearances from 2006-2013.

Players to Watch from the Blackhawks: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The American Kane and the Canadian Toews have become a North American Dream Team for the Blackhawks, helping to raise two Stanley Cups in 2010 and 2013. Kane played a major role in Team USA’s success at the 2010 Winter Olympics, while Toews has won back-to-back Gold medals with Team Canada.