The Centennial Classic which marks the NHL’s 100th anniversary takes place on Sunday on NBC as the Detroit Red Wings visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at BMO Field which is the home of the Toronto Argonauts. Detroit is very familiar with playing in these outdoor games as they have played in three of them including last year when they defeated Colorado at Coors Field in Denver. The Red Wings will be listed as road underdogs on Sunday in this game against the Maple Leafs.
Don't miss the ice action from BMO Field at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 1, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBC.
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This the second game of a six-game road trip that could determine whether or not the Red Wings are going to have any chance of making the playoffs this season. They simply can’t afford to go 1-5 and stay in contention in the East. The Red Wings started the trip in Ottawa on Thursday and after this game on Sunday they head out West for games on the West Coast. The Red Wings were 8-7 in their first 15 road games with 7 going over, 5 going under with 3 pushes.
The Maple Leafs are coming home for one game after completing a four-game road trip. Toronto then goes right back on the road for a game on Tuesday in Washington. Toronto is 9-8 at home this season with 10 games going under and 7 going over.
Detroit is struggling to score goals this season as they are averaging just 2.3 goals per game which is 26th in the league. The power play has been a disaster as the Red Wings are last in the league at 12.5%.
Detroit is giving up 2.9 goals per game which is 22nd in the league. They are just 18th in the league in penalty killing at 81.5%.
The Maple Leafs are scoring 2.9 goals per game which is 7th in the league. Their power play is hitting at 18.6% which is 14th in the league. The Leafs are giving up 2.7 goals per game which is 15th in the league. They are 10th in penalty killing at 83.6%.
Toronto has consistently been a team that gets outscored as the last 10 years have seen the Leafs finish with more goals allowed than scored. This year the Leafs may have turned the corner as they were +2 after 33 games. “I like that,” head coach Mike Babcock said, “But I like that (goals against) number when it’s way lower. We have a lot of work to do.”
The Red Wings are relying heavily on Petr Mrazek right now with Jimmy Howard out due to injury. Mrazek is 9-11 on the season with a 3.11 goals against average. The backup currently is Jared Coreau who is 1-1 with a 3.42 goals against average.
The Maple Leafs starter is Frederik Andersen who is 14-14 with a 2.49 goals against average. The backup is Jhonas Enroth who is 0-4 with a 3.94 goals against average.
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The Red Wings have had some recent success in this series against the Maple Leafs as they have won three of the last four with all four going under the total. Detroit has also taken five of the last seven in Toronto with the last five going under.
Normally I am a little leery of taking a team coming home after a long road trip but the Leafs have had two days off to get ready for this game at home. Detroit simply isn’t a good team and I think this will be the season that their long streak of making the playoffs comes to an end.
I am going against the trends in this game and taking Toronto to get the home win.
NHL Odds: Maple Leafs 4, Red Wings 3
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