How about this for a game?
The Red Wings and Maple Leafs in a tune-up for the 2014 Winter Classic on a Saturday night. Oh yeah, the game is also on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada."
Need we say more?
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Records: The Red Wings are 16-12-9, the Leafs are 18-16-3
Season Series: First Meeting. The Leafs won the only meeting 4-3 in January 2012.
Tomas Tatar – Pavel Datsyuk – Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller – Joakim Andersson – Daniel Alfredsson
Jordin Tootoo – Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco
Daniel Cleary – Luke Glendening – Patrick Eaves
Niklas Kronwall – Jonathan Ericsson
Danny DeKeyser – Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith – Brian Lashoff
Jonas Gustavsson (starter)
James van Riemsdyk – Nazem Kadri – Phil Kessel
Mason Raymond – Peter Holland – Joffery Lupul
David Clarkson – Jay McClement – Nikolai Kulemin
Jerry D'Amigo – Trevor Smith – Troy Bodie
Dion Phaneuf – Carl Gunnarsson
Cody Franson – John-Michael Liles
Jake Gardiner – Morgan Rielly
James Reimer (starter)
Red Wings Update: The Wings finally got back to their winning ways on Thursday with a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames, thanks to a two-goal night from Daniel Alfredsson, and a three point night from Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk continues to lead the team in goals scored with 13. On the injury front, things haven't been good for the Wings, as Henrik Zetterberg (back), Stephen Weiss (hernia), Jimmy Howard (knee), and Johan Franzen (concussion) are all listed as out. Darren Helm (flu), Justin Abdelakder (concussion), and Gustav Nyquist (groin) are all listed as questionable, but are not expected to return until Monday. The good news is that Danny DeKeyser returns after missing time with a broken shoulder.
Maple Leafs Update: The Leafs had been dealing with a lot of losing and some fans calling for head coach Randy Carlyle to be fired. But most of the complaining has quelled after a 2-1 shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. Phil Kessel has paced the Leafs in scoring with 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists). In terms of injuries, the Leafs will not have the services of Dave Bolland (ankle), Colton Orr (elbow), Tyler Bozak (oblique), and Trevor Smith (hand).
Players to Watch
Kessel: A shoo-in for Team USA at the Olympics. Second to Chicago's Patrick Kane in scoring among American-born players.
Mason Raymond: The late-offseason signee has quietly posted 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists), good for third on the team.
Nazem Kadri: One of the more underrated scorers in the NHL.
James Reimer: Will get the start in net for the Leafs. Game has improved vastly over the last couple of seasons.
Alfredsson: Has scored plenty against the Leafs in his career.
Datsyuk: After a three-assist outing, expect him to put the puck in the net tonight.
Brendan Smith: The Toronto native will be playing in his first regular season game in his hometown.
Jonas Gustavsson: Spent the first three years if his career with the Leafs. All five shutouts in his career came at Air Canada Centre.
Prediction: These may not be your grandfather's Leafs, but this is still a playoff-caliber team. However, they are fighting to stay afloat in the playoff hunt. A bigger question is will the Wings-Leafs rivalry match the intensity of the 1950's. This will be a knockdown, drag-out affair tonight with the Wings squeaking out a win.
Make It: Red Wings 4, Maple Leafs 3Tags: Brendan Smith, Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, Jonas Gustavsson, NHL, Pavel Datsyuk, Toronto Maple Leafs
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