Maple Leafs beat Red Wings in Winter Classic shootout
ANN ARBOR, MICH. Emerging from the famous tunnel at The Big House to 105,000 plus souls in a swirling snow globe, Joffrey Lupul spotted a sign.
Is History the Maple Leafs will go in the book as the team that won the 2014 Winter Classic before, unofficially, the largest ever crowd for a hockey game.
moment we all remember forever, said Lupul, who had a shootout goal in the 3 2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. cool to know you were part of the biggest one ever. As far as the game goes that was pretty rough with all the snow. amidst the white stuff, the Leafs showed they have the right stuff. Jonathan Bernier 41 saves, plus two more in the shootout, and Tyler Bozak game winner silenced 50% of the Big House wearing red and gave those from Leaf Nation, many who braved hours of driving in the elements, the desired result.
The hardy crowd, 105,491 to be exact, saw a toque topped Bernier further solidify his role as No. 1 goalie, in front of a world wide TV audience. Regulation goals came from James van Riemsdyk and Bozak, while Bernier survived a flurry pardon the pun in the dying seconds of overtime.
second period was probably the worst with the wind coming at us, but the snow wasn as bad, Bernier said.
Bozak, who just came back from an abdominal injury with a career best three assists against the Hurricanes, was his club best faceoff man, with a hand in both Leafs goals. He also lost his man on Justin Abdelkader tying marker in the third, but is well ensconced again on the top line with Phil Kessel and van Riemsdyk.
knew going in there weren going to be many pretty goals, said Bozak. ice got pretty snowy pretty fast. They did a great job cleaning it. the forecasted five inches of snow began in the early morning, a SWAT team of shovellers were on high alert. The constant maintenance and extended intermissions dragged the game out to three hours and 19 minutes, with the flakes abating in the second period before returning in force in the third.
Players and fans at the University of Michigan legendary football field devised all manner of tricks to stay warm. Tempertures fluctuated around minus 12C, but to be part of such an event superceded the conditions.
felt like you were going back in time, centre Jay McClement said. our (retro) jerseys and playing outside, it was old school. The snow didn let up, so there was nothing you could do. It just added to the whole experience. than 40,000 of the pricey Classic tickets were sold in Southern Ontario and a rep from the Guinness Book Of World Records in a snappy crested blazer was on hand still had to verify the new attendance mark.
The big prize for coach Randy Carlyle was the two points in the standings. It broke a three way tie for fifth in the conference with Detroit and Washington and made it points in six straight games, a high water mark since he replaced Ron Wilson.
## ## been a long three weeks with what gone on with our hockey club, said Carlyle, way we played, the inconsistencies that we played to and the (HBO) microscope that we been under. There are a lot of things going on inside that are hard to deal with when you constantly (dealing with) a camera or a microphone under you. Carlyle relief, Toronto can now get back a semblance of normal NHL life, though might have to do it without Lupul for Saturday home game against the Rangers. His cross check to the head and shoulders of a downed Patrick Eaves will get a look from the NHL.
The pre game was big on pomp, though the crowd needed only to see the two famous teams march side by side out the tunnel to get off their frozen fannies and start a roar.
It was hard for both clubs to move the puck in the snowy build up, while being tentative with unfamiliar bounces off the boards and other nuances.
Datsyuk told me we were being too careful with the puck, said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. you had to be, because we were afraid to turn it over in the snow. led 13 5 in shots after one period, the visible ones anyway, with the Leafs limited to 26 overall. Right at the halfway mark of the game, with the flurries right in his face, Bernier lost a high puck out of his glove and Daniel Cleary nearly stuffed it in.
Detroit finally broke through on a bad change by the Leafs. With Jake Gardiner left to defend a 2 on 1, Henrik Zetterberg slid a pass to Daniel Alfredsson, glancing off his trailing skate as Lupul tried to get back.
Van Riemsdyk scored on a scramble late in the second, while a Dion Phaneuf point shot in the third was credited to Bozak after nearly being wiped out by a high stick.
The Leafs trainers gave Bernier a couple of small heat packs, which he stuffed down the back of his pants. And he decided to stretch a toque over his mask because the cold was seeping in his air holes.