What a setting it was today as the Detroit Redwings hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of 104,000 hockey fans at Wolverines Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan. The outdoor game was the sixth to be played on New Years Day since 2008. The weather couldn’t have cooperated more. It was snowing very heavily at the start of the game and continued to be steady throughout. The air temperature at game time was 12 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of -1 degrees. The temperature climbed to a balmy 14 degrees towards the end of the game.
The first period went scoreless. Detroit opened up the scoring in the second period when Daniel Aldredsson deflected a shot by Henrik Zetterberg at 13:14. Toronto answered at 19:23 when James van Riemsdyk scored to lock it up 1-1. Toronto scored at 4:41 of the third period when Tyler Bozak tipped in a shot from Dion Phaneuf. Detroit answered about ten minutes later when Justin Abdelkader tipped in a pass from Brendan Smith. The score remained tied at the end of regulation. (NHL.com/1/1/14)
Neither team scored during the five minute overtime. Toronto won the shootout and left Michigan with 2 points as the Redwings left with one.
This was the most excited Winter Classic since the 2010 OT win by Boston over the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. This was the first snow game since the first classic when the Sabers of Buffalo lost in OT to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Seeing the players going back to their roots on a cold day in January, where it’s snowing was quite unique. Seeing the players in wool caps worn under their helmets reminds us how cold it really was. There will be five more outdoor games this season. The Duck and Kings will square off at Dodgers Stadium in LA on Saturday, January 25 at 9:30pmest on NBCSP. The Rangers and Devils will play the next day at 12:30 at Yankee Stadium. There will be one more Yankee Stadium game played between the Rangers and Islanders to prep for the Super Bowl a week later. And finally the Stanley Cup Champs Chicago Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Comisky Field.