Snow, frigid temperatures, a record crowd, and a shootout.
"It was a home run for hockey," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
It would be the fans in blue that went home happy, as Tyler Bozak scored the winning goal in the third round of the shootout to give the Leafs a 3-2 victory, and sole possession of fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
"It's another game that we want to get points on the board, but it's different because we're going to remember this for the rest of our lives," Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner said. "People will ask, 'Did you ever play in an outdoor game?' We can say, 'Yeah.' They'll say, 'Did you win?' We can say, 'Yes, we won 3-2 in a shootout.' It's great to be able to say that and just to be a part of this whole thing."
Despite the loss, the Red Wings weren't disappointed after the game.
"It was the best experience I probably ever had playing hockey," said Justin Abdelkader, "It was awesome. It brings you back to your childhood days when you're out on the pond or playing in the backyard. It was a lot of fun."
The first 20 minutes made the game appear as if it would be a goaltending duel between Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier, as neither team scored.
Daniel Alfredsson got the Red Wings fans to make noise when he scored his 11th goal of the season off of a give-and-go from Henrik Zetterberg that beat Bernier at 13:14 of the second period.
James van Riemsdyk, who attended high school across the street from Michigan Stadium at Ann Arbor Pioneer, tied the game at 19:23 after he sent a wrister past Howard.
Bozak put the Leafs ahead at 4:41 of the third after he tipped a shot from Dion Phaneuf past Howard. Abdelkader tied the game after he tipped a shot from Brendan Smith past Bernier for his fifth goal of the season.
Pavel Datsyuk was the first to score in the shootout in Round 2 before Joffery Lupul followed with a shootout goal of his own. Bozak's winner came after Tomas Tatar missed in Round 3.
Howard finished with 22 saves on 24 shots, while Bernier set an NHL record for most saves in an outdoor game with 41.
- TOR Jonathan Bernier (W, 41 Saves, .953 Save Percentage)
- DET Jimmy Howard (L, 24 Saves, .923 Save Percentage)
- TOR Tyler Bozak (Goal, SOW Goal)
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