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Detroit Red Wings Vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Winter Classic Preview

January 1st, 2014 at 10:50 AM
By Frank Vajcner

The day Red Wings have been waiting for is finally here. Do I need to state the painfully obvious as to why you all should watch?

It's time to take it outside.

What: Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic

Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

When: 1 p.m. today


Records: The Red Wings are 18-14-9; the Maple Leafs are 20-16-5

Season Series: Red Wings lead 1-0

Last Meeting: The Red Wings prevailed 5-4 in a shootout at the Air Canada Centre on December 21

Projected Lineups:

Maple Leafs:


James Van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel

Mason Raymond – Nazem Kadri – Joffery Lupul

David Clarkson – Jay McClement – Nikolai Kulemin

Frazer McLaren – Peter Holland – Colton Orr


Dion Phaneuf – Carl Gunnarson

Jake Gardiner – Cody Franson

Paul Ranger – Morgan Rielly


Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Red Wings:


Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Daysyuk – Todd Bertuzzi

Justin Abdelkader – Darren Helm - Daniel Alfredsson*

Tomas Tatar – Joakim Andersson - Gustav Nyquist

Drew Miller – Luke Glendening – Daniel Cleary


Niklas Kronwall – Danny DeKeyser

Jakub Kindl – Brendan Smith

Kyle Quincey – Brian Lashoff


Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

(*-Alfredsson is a game-time decision. Patrick Eaves will take his spot if he can't play)

Red Wings Update: The Wings concluded the first half of the season with a 6-4 loss to the Nashville Predators. As the second half begins, they find themselves sitting in fourth in the Atlantic Division tied with the Maple Leafs. All indications are that Mike Babcock is putting Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg back together on the top line. The play of those two could very well determine where the Wings finish after these next 41 games. Injury wise, Jonathan Ericsson (ribs), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), and Johan Franzen (concussion) will not play today. Daniel Alfredsson (upper body) is a game-time decsion. Jimmy Howard will get the start in net.

Maple Leafs Update: The Leafs ended their first half with a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. Much like the Wings, they are in fourth in the Atlantic holding on to a wild card spot. The biggest issue for the Leafs has been shots allowed, as they have been outshot badly in multiple games, despite winning a good chunk of those games. This is a team that made the playoffs in a shortened season last year, but a lot remains to be seen if they can sustain that success. Dave Bolland (ankle) and Trevor Smith (hand) are out today. Jonathan Bernier will start in goal.

Players to Watch


Phil Kessel: He leads the Leafs in scoring (37 points) and goals (20). Kessel played for the US National Development Team based out of Ann Arbor from 2003-05.

Dion Phaneuf: Besides all the exposure on 24/7, the Leafs captain recently signed a seven-year contract extension.

James Van Riemsdyk: Like Kessel, he also played for the USNDT from 2005-07.

Red Wings:

Pavel Datsyuk: Scored a goal in regulation as well as the shootout winner in the last meeting. Needs one point to reach 800 for his career.

Henrik Zetterberg: Continues to lead the Wings in scoring with 33 points. Can he re-kindle his old magic playing with Datsyuk?

Jimmy Howard: Has never beaten the Leafs in his career (0-1-0 record). Needs to start off the second half with a strong performance.

Prediction: Today isn't just a big game, it's the beginning of the run to the playoffs. While a loss doesn't doom either team today, it's critical to keep piling up points. The Wings will start their run for a 23rd straight playoff appearance (and 2014) on the right foot.

Make It: Red Wings 4, Maple Leafs 3

Tags: Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg, Hockey, Jimmy Howard, NHL, Pavel Datsyuk, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winter Classic

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