If Saturday night was any indication of what's to come, we're in for a special Winter Classic.
Well, at least for fans of the Red Wings. The first episode of HBO's 24/7 opened with a monologue on the long-suffering nature of Maple Leafs fandom, and at this rate, the next few weeks aren't going to change the tone around Toronto.
The matchup on Saturday against Detroit presented not only a Winter Classic preview, but a chance for the Maple Leafs to turn things around on a big stage after an up-and-down couple of weeks. Instead, they struggled out of the gate and their late comeback attempt fell short in the shootout. Meanwhile, rumors swirled that the locker room refused HBO reporters all week. The team appeared frustrated during the second installment of 24/7 later in the evening.
There's plenty of time for the team to turn it around before the showdown at the Big House. But, so far the Leafs' time in the spotlight has to be giving fans that familiar sinking feeling.
All the NHL Scores
Red Wings 5, Maple Leafs 4 (SO)
Ducks 5, Islanders 3
Stars 2 (SO)3,
On Saturday we asked you five burning questions about the day's games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
Will the Maple Leafs and Red Wings put on a show for HBO?
Boy, did they. James Reimer was pulled after allowing three goals, fueling the goalie controversy in Toronto. Dion Phaneuf scored on old teammate Jonas Gustavsson, before Gustavsson robbed him minutes later. Detroit blew a 3-1 lead late in the game before eventually winning in a shootout. The storylines are ripe for the picking, and we can't wait to see which are chosen for future episodes.
Will James Wisniewski and Marian Gaborik make instant impacts?
Not quite. Wisniewski only registered an assist and was minus-1. Marian Gaborik broke his collarbone in the first period and will be out for some time. The only good news is Ryan Johansen and R.J. Umberger (two goals each) proved again that they can carry the Blue Jackets through another stretch without Gaborik.
Can Tuukka Rask cure his Buffalo blues?
The Sabres are a mess, but 35 saves in a 4-1 win is nothing to scoff at. Tuukka Rask was brilliant when tested on Saturday, earning his first win against the Sabres in the last six tries.
Can the upstart Martin Jones slow down Matt Duchene?
Both were excellent again on Saturday. Duchene was all over the ice, playing a great two-way game while setting up both of Colorado's goals with a stellar showcase of his playmaking skills. Jones wasn't tested as often as he had been lately, but he came up in a big way late, stopping all three shots in the shootout to earn his eighth straight win.
Will the Ducks make it eight in a row?
They sure did. Ryan Getzlaf was a monster yet again, registering his second hat trick of the season in Anaheim's comeback win over the Islanders.
The one play or moment from Saturday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
Sidney Crosby added three more points to extend his league lead. But, he really made waves for his appearance on HBO's 24/7 later in the evening when cameras caught him admitting he doesn't hit anybody. Ever. (Skip to about 1:52.)
Stat(s) of the Night
If you think this stat is impressive ...
Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season tonight, becoming the only player to score 30 or more goals in every NHL season since 05-06— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 22, 2013
... then you haven't seen this one yet.
Oh hey: If you adjust by era, and add tonight, reckon Ovechkin's on pace for the best goal-scoring season in history. http://t.co/gNOhJ1ZDBu— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) December 22, 2013
Post to Post
- Examining Jonas Hiller's legacy in Anaheim.
- How to avoid a Shanaban.
- The Stars' resurgence has a lot to do with their relationship with their AHL affiliate.