LGD - GAME 70: The "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S STILL WINTER" CLASSIC

Steve Dangle
March 18 2014 11:35AM

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(Photo courtesy of handsome Jeffler)

Remember the Winter Classic? Fun under the -20 celsius sun? Tyler Bozak, hair flowing in the wind, scoring the shootout winner in front of over 100,000 fans as snow gently kissed his rosy cheeks?

Well this isn't quite the same. 

It's indoors, not outdoors. It's Detroit, not Ann Arbour. It's Joe Louis Arena, not the Big House. What remains the same is it's two points up for grabs.

STATISTICS

Let's focus on the standings for this one...

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(via NHL.com)

If the Leafs win tonight, they could leapfrog the Canadiens and Lightning for second in the Atlantic. If Detroit wins, they'll pass the Capitals and sit one point back of a playoff spot. It's that time of year, folks.

LEAFS LINEUP COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Joffrey Lupul - Nazem Kadri - David Clarkson

Mason Raymond - Nikolai Kulemin - Troy Bodie

Carter Ashton - Jay McClement - Paul Ranger (7th D)

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf

Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson

Tim Gleason - Morgan Rielly

Hey look! No goons! One note: Personally, I would like to see Carter Ashton see some more ice. He played 2:29 last game and hasn't played more than five minutes in an NHL game since January 28.

RED WINGS LINEUP COURTESY OF DAILYFACEOFF.COM

Daniel Alfredsson - David Legwand - Johan Franzen

Gustav Nyquist - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Tatar

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Todd Bertuzzi

Brendan Smith - Cory Emmerton - Teemu Pulkkinen

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Dan DeKeyser

Jakub Kindl - Brian Lashoff

Look at this roster. No Datsyuk. No Zetterberg. No bunch of other guys. The Wings are icing half an AHL team tonight. If the Leafs can't win this one, that's bad.

Seriously, if the Leafs lose this game it would basically undo winning two of three in California. This is the last game of a five-game road trip. A win would mean earning six of a possible ten points. A loss in regulation would be just four of ten. A losing road trip is a losing road trip whether they beat the Ducks and Kings or not.

STARTING GOALIES

The Red Wings are going with Jimmy Howard. He's 1-3-1 in his last five games and isn't having the greatest of years by his standards. These are the Leafs though, so at least Howard has a pretty good shot at having a lighter workload than his counterpart.

Who is that counterpart? James Reimer. The Leafs are going with Reimer once again. Hey here's a stat:

Here's something Reimer's agent tweeted earlier in the month.

Since this tweet, Reimer followed up a loss to San Jose with a win in Los Angeles. Reimer's last game was a loss to Washington, so maybe some redemption is in order.

Nick Kypreos had a thought on Hockey Central today. He said he would start Drew MacIntyre over James Reimer tonight. My initial reaction was to disagree but his reasoning makes sense. First of all, the Leafs play a crucial divisional game against the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night which, if we're betting, is likely to be a tougher test than this banged-up Red Wings squad. He also said "What if Reimer gets hurt?" Well, Reimer could get hurt in any game. It's hockey. Still, the thought was a frightening one. Kyper's other compelling reason was that Drew MacIntyre, the Marlies' starting goalie, knows this AHL-loaded Red Wings roster better. I'm a big Reimer fan and I'm not really hating that logic. Makes sense in a back-to-back situation like this one. Randy Carlyle decided otherwise.

The game starts at 7:30 eastern on Sportsnet Ontario.

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Steve Dangle has a YouTube channel with over 3 million views and is the co-host of the Steve Dangle Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud. Steve has also worked for CBC, the NHL Network, Leafs TV, Nike, the KHL, and most of all, the Toronto Zoo. stevedangle.com
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#1 The Craig
March 18 2014, 12:07PM
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Start Reimer in both. He should be rested. He's a professional athlete, he'll survive.

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#2 MaxPower417
March 18 2014, 03:23PM
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@The Craig

Goalies league wide do markedly worse in back to backs. I imagine the effect would only be worse for a Toronto goalie who has ~50% larger workload.

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#3 MaxPower417
March 18 2014, 03:41PM
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@The Craig

double post

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