5 Questions: Maple Leafs, Red Wings face off in Winter Classic preview


Detroit and Toronto play each other just a few weeks before their Winter Classic battle.

Will the Maple Leafs and Red Wings put on a show for HBO?

Those eagerly awaiting the next installment of HBO's 24/7 on Saturday night will get a nice preview when the Wings skate in Toronto a few hours earlier. There are plenty of storylines for the cameras to pick up on, but the biggest has to be Jonas Gustavsson's first visit to the Air Canada Centre as a Red Wing after four seasons with the Leafs. He's been proving his value all season long, and now he gets to deliver that message personally to his old club.

Will James Wisniewski and Marian Gaborik make instant impacts?

The Blue Jackets finally activated both from injured reserve on Friday, which should provide a big boost to a middling Columbus squad. Wisniewski missed the last six games, while Gaborik sat out a whopping 17 games with a knee sprain. The Jackets have relied heavily on Ryan Johansen while Gaborik sat out, so his return will be a welcome one.

Can Tuukka Rask cure his Buffalo blues?

Surprisingly, the Boston Bruins goaltender is just 0-4-1 with a 4.25 goals against average in his last five games against one of the league's worst teams. Rask has been hot and cold this season, but he will get some help when his depleted blueline gets Adam McQuaid back from a lower-body injury on Saturday.

Can the upstart Martin Jones slow down Matt Duchene?

Two of the hottest players in the NHL right now will square off on Saturday, and the winner of the matchup should determine the outcome of the game. Matt Duchene visits the Staples Center having registered 10 points in his last five games, including a three-point night against Edmonton on Thursday. But Kings goalie Martin Jones is just as hot. The rookie is just the third rookie goaltender to win his first seven starts. He might be the only one who can shut down Duchene right now.

Will the Ducks make it eight in a row?

It feels like we talk about winning streaks by the Ducks every other week, but Anaheim is at it again. A win against the Islanders on Saturday would give them a franchise-record eight consecutive wins. But the Islanders would love to get their second in a row after a big win in New York on Friday.

More from SB Nation NHL:

Time to panic in Minnesota?

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Every single team sits back with the lead

Pittsburgh’s young defensemen are stepping up

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