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Leafs host Red Wings in Winter Classic preview

(SportsNetwork.com) - A preview of the upcoming Winter Classic is on tap Saturday night in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs host the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre.

Saturday's tilt is the first of four scheduled meetings between the Red Wings and Leafs this season. The next encounter will be staged outdoors, as Detroit is set to host this year's Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium.

Before battling in front of 100,000 or so people, however, these two Original Six rivals will get together for tonight's clash in Toronto, where the Red Wings have lost four straight games since last beating the Leafs on the road on Nov. 16, 2002.

Toronto has taken four of five overall from the Red Wings, who are now playing in the same division as the Maple Leafs thanks to the onset of realignment. Detroit moved from the Western Conference to the East prior to this season and joined Toronto in the Atlantic Division.

The Red Wings hope to stay on the right track tonight after halting a six-game losing streak in their last trip to the ice. Detroit stopped the 0-4-2 slide with Thursday's 3-2 overtime win over Calgary, as the Wings salvaged the final test of four-game homestand.

Daniel Alfredsson scored his second goal of the game just 63 seconds into overtime to help the Red Wings defeat the Flames and record their first win since a road victory over New Jersey on Dec. 6.

The Red Wings got a power play when Calgary defenseman TJ Brodie was whistled for hooking with 42 seconds left in regulation. On the ensuing power play, Pavel Datsyuk fed Alfredsson for a one-timer in the slot and the veteran buried a shot past Karri Ramo.

"We're hanging in games and we're playing some good hockey, and then all of a sudden, we have some lapses where we give the other team way too many chances," said Alfredsson. "We did that at times (tonight) too, but we grinded throughout the whole time, 60 minutes, and obviously Pavel's play there at the end of regulation to draw the penalty turns out to be huge."

Jonas Gustavsson made 20 saves for the Red Wings, who avoided their sixth consecutive loss on home ice. Detroit is playing three of its next four games on the road before hosting the Winter Classic and has a solid 10-3-3 away record this season.

With regular No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard still out with a knee injury. Gustavsson expects to start tonight against his former team. It would mark the goaltender's first appearance against the Leafs since he joined Detroit as a free agent in the summer of 2012.

In addition to Howard, forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and Johan Franzen will miss tonight's game due to various injuries. However, Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is expected to return to the lineup Saturday after missing the last 15 games with a separated left shoulder.

The Maple Leafs also will try for a second straight win on Saturday after halting a two-game slide of their own on Thursday.

Toronto won for just the second time in six outings with a 2-1 shootout win against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul both scored in the shootout on Thursday to help the Maple Leafs pick up two points.

Van Riemsdyk slipped the puck through Mike Smith's five-hole on the backhand. Smith flew back into the net and did not allow the referees to see where the puck went. After a review, the goal was deemed to be good. Mikkel Boedker then beat James Reimer on a backhand shot, but two Toronto shooters later, Lupul lit the lamp after faking the shot and wristing the puck over the shoulder of Smith.

Troy Bodie netted Toronto's lone goal in regulation. Cody Franson and Peter Holland picked up the assists on the score and Reimer turned aside 34 shots for the win.

"You're always looking for someone to step up for you. Obviously our goaltending has been strong for us. Tonight was another example of James Reimer stepping up. We're very fortunate to have him," said Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.

Toronto is capping a three-game homestand tonight and is 12-8-0 as the host this season.

12/21 11:19:08 ET

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Schedule

Thursday, April 24Full Scoreboard
Boston 4/24 8:00 PM ET
Detroit NBCSN, TSN, NESN, FSN-DET
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Boston leads series, 2-1.
Colorado 4/24 9:30 PM ET
Minnesota CNBC, TSN2, Alt, FSN-N,WI
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Colorado leads series, 2-1.
San Jose 4/24 10:30 PM ET
Los Angeles NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W, CSN-CA
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. San Jose leads series, 3-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 5
KAN 1
Final
PIT 1
CIN 2
8th
DET 5
CWS 4
 
7th
TAM 6
MIN 9
 
8th
NYM 4
STL 1
 
6th
CHC 1
ARI 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
SDP
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
7:00pm Tonight
ATL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
DET
BOS
9:30pm Tonight
MIN
COL
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
SJS
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR