As it is with every Winter Classic, the first period serves as a feeling out process for the players of each team, with few scoring chances and a lot of broken plays.
Fortunately the optics of the game have been fantastic, with the light falling snow providing the perfect setting for a beautiful broadcast. Mike Babcock's fedora and the brown pads of both Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier setting the retro scene for the best looking Winter Classic since Buffalo hosted Pittsburgh.
The game itself saw the Toronto Maple Leafs with the early shot advantage, only to see the Detroit Red Wings adjust and begin to force the slower Leafs into undisciplined penalties in the second half, ultimately dominating the possession game through 20 minutes.
Toronto's best chances, as usual, came off the counter attack off the rush, and there weren't many opportunities. Detroit peppered Bernier in the final few minutes en route to a 13-5 shot advantage in all situations, 6-3 at even strength.
Both teams struggled moving the puck along the boards, with snow building up quickly in between whistles, but the players seemed to adjust to the conditions as the game went on, and the pace continued to quicken the longer the period went. We should be in for a good second period.
The Leafs also managed to add excitement to the day by trading John-Michael Liles to the Hurricanes in the first period in exchange for Tim Gleason.