NHL Outdoor Classics Feature Top IHLC Winners

Many of the top players in the game took their talents outside this past weekend, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings highlighting the inaugural Centennial Classic on 1 January, followed a day later with the St. Louis Blues hosting the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017 Winter Classic.

The Leafs and Red Wings met at BMO Field in Toronto to kick off the NHL’s 100th season in style, with a relatively slow game through 40 minutes exploding into a flurry of action in the third period, with 7 goals scored in the frame to put the game at a 4-4 tie, ending with a last-second tying goal from Detroit’s Anthony Mantha. However, Leafs phenom (and surely future IHLC-holder) Auston Matthews answered with his own second goal in overtime, giving the Leafs the 5-4 victory in front of a raucous crowd of 40,000-plus.

The Leafs boasted five players who have held the IHLC in their careers, a number surely to grow due to the abundance of young talent joining the team this year, led by the trio of Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. The Red Wings only featured three IHLC holders, also a sign that younger talent like Mantha and Dylan Larkin will soon helm their squads, both in Detroit and internationally.

🇸🇪 Niklas Kronwall
🇸🇰 Tomáš Tatar
🇸🇪 Henrik Zetterberg
🇩🇰 Frederik Andersen
🇨🇦 Nazem Kadri
🇫🇮 Leo Komarov
🇨🇦 Morgan Rielly
🇷🇺 Nikita Zaitsev

As for the Winter Classic, held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, a crowd of over 46,000 took in yet another game that broke open in the third period, with a 1-1 stalemate being busted by dynamo forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who whipped in two goals in just 1:53 to set the crowd alight, with a late Alexander Steen empty netter sealing the 4-1 victory for the Blues, becoming just the third home team in nine iterations to win a Winter Classic on home ice.

These squads, more established than the youth-focused Maple Leafs and Red Wings, boasted 17 combined IHLC holders, including all goal scorers in the game (Kempný, Berglund, Tarasenko and Steen), along with team captains Jonathan Toews and Alex Pietrangelo and star players Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Jay Bouwmeester.

🇷🇺 Artyom Anisimov
🇨🇦 Corey Crawford
🇺🇸 Patrick Kane
🇨🇦 Duncan Keith
🇨🇿 Michal Kempný
🇷🇺 Artemi Panarin
🇸🇪 Dennis Rasmussen
🇨🇦 Brent Seabrook
🇨🇦 Jonathan Toews
🇸🇪 Patrik Berglund
🇨🇦 Jay Bouwmeester
🇸🇪 Carl Gunnarsson
🇫🇮 Jori Lehterä
🇨🇦 Alex Pietrangelo
🇺🇸 Paul Stastny
🇸🇪 Alexander Steen
🇷🇺 Vladimir Tarasenko

Photo Credit: Toronto Maple Leafs – Yahoo Sports – IIHFHHOFIOC


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