SPEAKING WITH THE ENEMY: Red Wings @ Leafs

Spy vs Spy

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.

THE MATCHUP

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)
LeafsNation_white WingsNation_white

Today’s Meeting:

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.  

Points Leaders:

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

Goaltenders:

Toronto:

Player GP GS W L T OT SA GA GAA S Sv% SO MIN
Frederik Anderson 29 29 15 8 0 6 945 71 2.47 874 .925 1 1,726
Antoine Bibeau 2 2 1 1 0 0 55 4 1.98 51 .927 0 121

Detroit:

Player GP GS W L T OT SA GA GAA S Sv% SO MIN
Jimmy Howard 17 15 5 7 0 1 426 28 1.96 398 .934 1 857
Jared Coreau 3 3 2 1 0 0 98 9 2.93 89 .908 0 184
Petr Mrazek 21 18 9 8 0 3 567 59 3.11 508 .896 0 1,139

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.

Adam Laskaris, WingsNation:

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.

Adam Laskaris:

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.

Adam Laskaris:

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.

Adam Laskaris:

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.

Adam Laskaris:

25-year streak!!!

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.