Playing in snowy, windy conditions at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs took turns skating into the wind during the overtime period. As the game clock wound down to 2:30 in the overtime session, Zetterberg poked a loose puck in the neutral zone past Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson and appeared to be set to go in on a breakaway.
But just as he was about to turn into top gear, the buzzer sounded. The teams changed sides to finish up the overtime, and the Red Wings went on to lose 3-2 in a shootout.
"I think I would have had a clear breakaway," said Zetterberg, who assisted on Daniel Alfredsson's goal in the second period. "I knew it before that we didn't have much time, but when I came down I had no idea. The buzzer went … but that's the rules. Nothing you can do about it. We had a few chances in overtime.
"I knew before that we didn't have much time. But when it actually happened, I didn't expect it. In a way, it was kind of better that the buzzer went there instead of if I was clear for a breakaway. I think that would have been a little worse."
Zetterberg didn't participate in the shootout, which was won when Tyler Bozak beat Jimmy Howard in the third round. While it wasn't the result Zetterberg and the Red Wings were hoping for, he was happy the 105,491 fans in attendance got their money's worth.
"The shootout was kind of a perfect ending for the fans," Zetterberg said. "They got value for their money. There were sitting in the cold for a long time. Obviously, it's tough to lose. But I think today was a great atmosphere out there."