The #CentennialClassic is here and we’ve asked writers from both LeafsNation and WingsNation to give their take on the first matchup of 2017. We’ve also put together a few notes to get you ready for the first Nation Network battle of the year.
Sunday, January 1st, 2017 – Exhibition Stadium – 3pm (EST) on Sportsnet/NBC
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Detroit Red Wings|
|16-12-7 (5th in the Atlantic)||16-16-4 (7th in the Pacific)|
|6-2-2 in their last 10||4-5-1 in their last 10|
|Power Play (PP%): 20.0% (13th)||Power Play (PP%): 12.0% (30th)|
|Penalty Kill (PK%): 84.9% (6th)||Penalty Kill (PK%): 82.0% (14th)|
This will be the first meeting between the Leafs and Wings and it will happen under the big skies of Exhibition Stadium. Today’s game features two teams that are pointed in seemingly opposite directions as the Leafs look to continue their march towards the playoffs, and Red Wings look to find a way to hang on to their playoff appearance streak.
Auston Matthews (TOR) 18G, 12A = 30 points
Mitch Marner (TOR) 8G, 18A = 26 points
James van Riemsdyk (TOR) 13G, 12A = 25 points
Henrik Zetterberg (DET) 7G, 18A = 25 points
Thomas Vanek (DET) 7G, 13A = 20 points
Frans Nielson (DET) 8G, 11A = 19 points
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Why is your team going to win or why will your enemy lose?
Jeff Veillette (TLN): The Leafs are the hottest they’ve been all year. They’ve won four straight, and the Red Wings have won just a single consecutive game, and that’s to Ottawa, who barely counts. Toronto has a significantly better goal differential, they have the better record in the outdoor head-to-heads, they’re better in their last ten, and they’ve got a coach who will act like he’s been here before, because he has.
Detroit will win because it’s 2017. Something has to go their way.
Who’s hot? Who’s not?
Jeff Veillette: Who isn’t, really? Auston Matthews is scorching, with eight points in his last seven. Nylander and Marner look good. Jake Gardiner looks delightful. Freddie the Goat is still goating. Frederik Andersen is GOATing. I suppose Nikita Soshnikov could be doing better and we’re all still left wondering how Hunlak aren’t getting burned on the scoresheet, but neither have truly come back to haunt the team lately.
Just about everyone’s not hot. Except Dylan Larkin. He’s a good boy!
Why should people watch this game?
Jeff Veillette: Where do we start? It’s an outdoor game. It’s in the centre of the universe. The Leafs play like a roller coaster fuelled by nitrous oxoide with dynamite randomly placed on the tracks, which conveniently take you through a volcano. It’s a classic rivalry that transfers into rebuild vs. denial in its current stage.
Because who wouldn’t want to watch Steve Ott in an outdoor game?
Say something nice about your opponent.
Jeff Veillette: Your new arena is nice and it’ll be fitting that “The Streak” gets its goodbye sendoff at the Joe.
You’ve provided Brendan Shanahan with permanent employment and that’s nice of you.
Any last words?
Jeff Veillette: Trade Nielsen, trade Nyqvist, waive Abdelkader, trade Vanek, trade Miller, trade Ott, trade Glendening, trade Green, trade Dekeyser, trade Kronwall, waive Ericsson, extend Smith, trade Howard, fire everybody on staff. Bonus points if you do it by puckdrop.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Join in the conversation on Twitter at @TLNdc and @TheWingsNation to give us your thoughts on the game. Social media not your thing? Keep the battle going in the game day articles at theLeafsNation.com and WingsNation.com.