NHL Hockey Action Update
TORONTO – The National Hockey League is headed to the annual classic outdoor game. Fans will get a preview tonight as the Detroit Red Wings are going to face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night in a preview of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
Red Wing defenceman Danny DeKeyser will be back in the lineup after missing the past 15 games with a separated shoulder. “I’m really excited about it,” DeKeyser said. “There’s a good history here between Detroit and Toronto, two pretty storied franchises. It’s going to be fun. It’s Saturday night so it’s going to be a great atmosphere and should be a great game.”
Maple Leafs Ready to Pluck Wings
Maple Leafs: Toronto has had injuries as well, especially at the team’s shallowest position. There were questions about the team’s skill and depth at center before the season began, and coach Randy Carlyle has tried wing James van Riemsdyk in the middle a couple of times to compensate. Having two of the four centers they began the season with and one of the original replacements out of the lineup has been problematic to say the least.
Even with a healthy lineup, there were advanced statistics that suggested Toronto’s hot start (10-4-0) would not last, and it has not. The Maple Leafs are 8-12-3 since then, though they did top the Phoenix Coyotes in a shootout Thursday. They have one win in regulation (a surprising 7-3 thumping of the Chicago Blackhawks) since Nov. 19.
Who’s hot: Alfredsson has four points in his past four games. … Toronto goaltender James Reimer has stopped 138 of 148 shots (.932 save percentage) in his past four starts, but has two wins to show for it.
DeKeyser said he’ll be paired up with Kyle Quincey. Jakub Kindl will be a healthy scratch to make room for him. The Red Wings have had more success on the road this season, going 10-3-3 away from Joe Louis Arena compared to a 6-9-6 record on home ice.
“We haven’t been as good a team since we lost our people,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I’m not trying to make excuses at all for that, but we just haven’t been as good of a team. So I think that affects it for sure. Then I also think that when things don’t go good for you and you’re a little tentative, as much as your crowd’s trying to help you, instead of being a bunch of solid veterans who don’t worry about that stuff, when you got kids you tighten up a little bit and I think that affects you.”
NHL 2014 Bridgestone HNL Winter Classic Live Webcam
With files from nhl.com