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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, January 1st (All times Eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (20-16-5) at Detroit Red Wings (18-14-9), 1 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Original Six members as well as division rivals both past and present, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings have met 645 times during the regular season.

The 646th matchup will be one to remember.

The Red Wings play host to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday afternoon in the 2014 edition of the Winter Classic that is set to take place at Michigan Stadium.

The two franchises have been waiting to engage in the NHL's sixth Winter Classic, having been set to meet on New Year's Day in 2013 only to have the game wiped out due to the lockout.

They now meet as division rivals, with the Red Wings having shifted from the Western Conference to the East in the new-look Atlantic Division following realignment. The two clubs are tied for fourth place in the standings with 45 points, five back of Tampa Bay and Montreal.

That makes today's matchup an important one in the grand scheme of the season and not just for the novelty of playing outdoors.

"We all understand it's a great event and a great showcase for the league," said Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. "It's our responsibility to participate.

"To tell you the truth, as I said lots of times, it wasn't high on our list because we have lots of things going on. With it comes a lot of distractions. But, again, the most important thing to us is that we're going to go out and compete and give ourselves the best chance to win."

While the Maple Leafs will be making their Winter Classic debut, the Red Wings visited the Chicago Blackhawks and Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009 and secured a 6-4 victory in front of 40,818 fans. Detroit rallied after being down 3-1, with Jiri Hudler scoring two goals and Ty Conklin making 43 saves.

Detroit has a few holdovers from that game, including Pavel Datsyuk (1 goal) and Henrik Zetterberg (3 assists) as the duo helped the Red Wings score a single team-high six goals for a Winter Classic game.

Now Detroit takes its turn to host at Michigan Stadium, the largest college football stadium in the country that is known as "The Big House." The official capacity for a football game at Michigan Stadium tops 100,000 people.

"You don't remember everything in your life, but you remember moments. This should be one. But it's way more fun when you win. It's been like that since you were six," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.

The Red Wings and Leafs offered a preview of this matchup in Toronto on Dec. 21, with Detroit earning a 5-4 shootout victory. Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson both scored in the tiebreaker and Jonas Gustavsson was perfect in the shootout for the Red Wings.

Toronto overcame a 3-1 deficit and led by a goal before Detroit's Tomas Tatar netted the equalizer with 6:16 on the clock in the third period.

Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves for the Maple Leafs in relief of James Reimer, who was pulled after the first period having allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Despite the loss, the Leafs are still 4-1-1 in their past six meetings with the Red Wings but have lost five of their last seven as the visitor in this series.

Dion Phaneuf had a goal for the Maple Leafs versus the Red Wings and will play in his first game today since officially signing a seven-year contract extension on Tuesday. The new deal is worth a reported $49 million.

Phaneuf has four goals, 11 assists and a plus-13 rating in 39 games this season and has missed just 18 games since coming to Toronto via a trade with Calgary on Jan. 31, 2010.

"You grow up playing on outdoor rinks as a kid. And to be able to come here and, obviously, with this news (of the extension) being announced, to have my family here ... it's going to be a special game to be a part of. I'm really looking forward to stepping out there, not only (Tuesday) to practice but (Wednesday) when there are 110,000 people. It's going to be an experience I'll never forget as a player," said Phaneuf.

Toronto has a chance to win three straight for the first time since Oct. 26-30 today. The Maple Leafs split four games decided in a shootout from Dec. 19-27 before picking up a 5-2 win over Carolina on Sunday.

Phaneuf had a goal and Phil Kessel scored twice to reach 20 goals on the season. Center Tyler Bozak returned following a 12-game absence caused by an oblique injury and had three assists.

Bernier helped the Leafs to the victory despite the club getting outshot 43-27. He came away with 41 saves in his third straight start.

Bernier will draw the start today over Reimer and is 1-1-1 with a 3.13 goals against average in five career games versus the Red Wings, two of those starts.

He doesn't expect the outdoor conditions to impact his play too much.

"It's actually good," Bernier said of the ice conditions on Tuesday. "The only thing was probably the wind sometimes when it was blowing, especially most of the practice it was blowing in my face. It was pretty cold, but other than that, it felt good."

Detroit had won three of four before suffering a 6-4 setback to the Nashville Predators on Monday. The Red Wings fell to 3-6-2 in their last 11.

Datsyuk, Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller all scored in the loss while goaltender Jimmy Howard showed some rust in his first game since Dec. 10. He yielded five goals on 28 shots faced in his return from a sprained left MCL.

"That's a tough thing for the goaltender. So the great thing about (Howard), he's a world-class goalie. He's always been good. He usually bounces back good," noted Babcock.

Howard is 0-1-0 with a 3.43 GAA in two career meetings with the Leafs.

Alfredsson was a late scratch with an upper-body injury and his status for the Winter Classic is unknown.

The New York Rangers defeated the Flyers 3-2 in the most recent Winter Classic on Jan. 2, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

01/01 10:24:59 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
Final
LOS 4
CWS 6
 
Final
CLE 4
CIN 2
 
Final
TEX 2
KAN 13
 
Final
SFG 2
OAK 9
 
Final
SEA 4
SDP 3
 
Final
MIL 8
WMIL 0
 
Final
COL 3
ARI 6
 
Final
MIN 3
UMIN 1
 
1:05pm Today
DET
ATL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
HOU
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
STL
 
3:05pm Today
SFG
CHC
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
CWS
LOS
 
3:05pm Today
ANA
MIL
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
OAK
 
3:05pm Today
SEA
SDP
 
3:05pm Today
KAN
TEX
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
5:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
Final
IND 105
NYK 82
Final
ORL 100
PHO 105
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
TOR 112
CLE 120
Final
BOS 85
UTA 84
Final
MIN 85
DEN 100
Final
NOP 88
DET 85
 
Final
MIA 100
LAL 94
Final
HOU 100
MEM 102
Final
OKC 123
PHI 118
Final
SAN 112
SAC 85
Final
GSW 102
MIL 93
Final
LAC 93
POR 98
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
OKC
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
DAL
 
Final
UNCA 80
LIB 70
 
Final
PSU 67
OSU 77
Final
USB 62
BING 57
 
Final
FORD 66
DUQ 81
Final
GMAS 51
GWU 67
Final
UNH 67
HART 63
 
Final
STJOE 55
LAS 50
Final
Terriers 79
LIU 70
 
Final
GTDNS 83
MAINE 66
 
Final
LOU 59
ND 71
Final
SHU 66
PROV 79
Final
BRY 91
SHU 85
 
Final
MORE 79
SEMIZ 74
Final
MNTER 58
RFLSH 73
 
Final
LSU 63
TENN 78
Final
SFLA 74
UCF 45
Final
VERM 66
UMBC 39
 
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 68
 
Final
UMASS 53
RICH 56
Final
TULA 63
HOU 68
Final
YALE 71
HOW 62
 
Final
PITT 63
MIAMI 67
Final
TXPA 48
NMST 69
 
Final
MSU 72
PURD 66
Final
STLU 48
BONA 64
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
Final
TULSA 47
CIN 56
Final
VANDY 66
MSST 56
Final
OKST 82
TCU 70
Final
UCLA 85
USC 74
Final
WYO 76
UTST 53
Final
MARQ 51
STJ 67
Final
EILL 78
SIUE 66
Final
FRES 68
AFA 66
Final
NEV 62
COLST 78
Final
ILL 69
NEB 57
Final
SJST 51
BSU 68
Final
ORST 62
OREG 65
Final
UNLV 58
SDST 60
Final
HAW 90
UCSB 98
 
5:00pm Tonight
SIENA
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
LEH
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
ARK
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAF
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PETE
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MORE
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
NAVY
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
WKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
WISC
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
7:30pm Tonight
COPST
DELST
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
MTST
 
7:30pm Tonight
MDES
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
HAMP
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
SCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
TXST
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
TXARL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
UGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ODU
MARS
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXSA
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
SAV
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SMISS
 
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
ARKLR
 
8:30pm Tonight
JST
ALAAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
GRAM
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
MVSU
ARKPB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NICST
CARK
 
8:30pm Tonight
TAMCC
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NARZ
PORST
 
8:30pm Tonight
LAM
SHSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
SALA
 
8:30pm Tonight
PVU
SOUTH
 
8:45pm Tonight
NO
SELA
 
9:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
ABCHRIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
COL
 
9:00pm Tonight
BEL
EILL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDAHO
 
9:00pm Tonight
QUIN
MAR
 
9:00pm Tonight
UCONN
MEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
UNT
 
9:00pm Tonight
STEPH
NWST
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
SACST
 
9:00pm Tonight
DAVID
VCU
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
EWASH
 
9:35pm Tonight
DRAK
BRAD
 
10:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCR
 
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
STAN
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
UTAH
 
Final
WIN 1
OTT 3
Final
DET 2
NYR 1
Final
ANA 3
MON 1
Final
COL 3
PIT 1
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
STL
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
MON