MAPLE LEAFS, RED WINGS FACE OFF IN CENTENNIAL CLASSIC . . .
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, two members of the League's Original Six, start the calendar year in the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. The two teams, who play for the first time this season, have faced off 657 times in the regular season during their 90-year rivalry, the fifth-highest head-to-head total in NHL history. They have nearly identical records in those games, with Detroit (283-276-98, 664 points) holding a six-point edge over Toronto (281-280-96, 658 points).
* The 117 playoff games and 23 postseason series between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings also rank second in League history, while their six head-to-head Game 7s place third in North American professional sports history. The teams again have nearly identical head-to-head records in the postseason, with Toronto holding a 12-11 series edge and Detroit having a 59-58 advantage in total games won.
* The Maple Leafs and Red Wings are playing their second head-to-head regular-season outdoor NHL game, following their appearance in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, a 3-2 shootout victory by Toronto in front of a record crowd of 105,491 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
. . . NHL LAUNCHES CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
The NHL will honor a century's worth of extraordinary players, teams, remarkable plays and unforgettable moments throughout 2017.
The League's Centennial Celebration commences today in Toronto with the 2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic. The marquee event also will feature the first phase in the announcement of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian (1917-1966) as well as the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, a traveling fan experience that will visit all NHL markets across North America in 2017.
The League also will launch the site NHL.com/100 -- the central hub of all NHL Centennial news, content, videos and images -- later today. This dedicated microsite will house daily editorial coverage; video content featuring rare footage; plus dedicated features, photo collections, player biographies and information about the NHL Centennial Fan Arena and NHL Centennial events.
SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Detroit @ Toronto, 3 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, NBC
Ottawa @ Washington, 7:30 p.m., SN, TVAS, CSN-DC
Philadelphia @ Anaheim, 8 p.m., NHLN-US, PRIME, CSN-PH
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ALUMNI GAMES DELIGHT FANS IN TORONTO, ST. LOUIS
Fans were treated to a pair of alumni games Saturday in advance of the outdoor games in Toronto and St. Louis:
* Kris Draper scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lift the Red Wings to a 4-3 victory against the Maple Leafs in the 2017 Rogers NHL Centennial Classic Alumni Game at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
* Pierre Turgeon scored two goals, including what stood as the winner, to lead the hometown St. Louis Blues to an 8-7 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
WAYNE GRETZKY TO TAKE QUESTIONS FROM FANS
NHL icon and Centennial ambassador Wayne Gretzky will participate in a live Q&A session for fans at The PreGame at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Home Team in Caps
BOSTON 3, Buffalo 1
Washington 6, NEW JERSEY 2
Columbus 4, MINNESOTA 2
NY Islanders 6, WINNIPEG 2
PITTSBURGH 4, Montreal 3 (OT)
TAMPA BAY 3, Carolina 1
NY Rangers 6, COLORADO 2
Florida 3, DALLAS 1
Vancouver 3, EDMONTON 2 (SO)
CALGARY 4, Arizona 2
LOS ANGELES 3, San Jose 2
BLUE JACKETS DEFEAT WILD IN HISTORIC MEETING OF DUELING STREAKS
Cam Atkinson scored twice to help the Columbus Blue Jackets extend their record winning streak to 15 games while ending the Minnesota Wild's record run at 12 games. Elias notes that it was the first game in the history of the NHL, NBA, MLB or NFL when two teams faced off while each holding win streaks of 12 or more games.
* Columbus' 15-game run istied for the second-longest single-season win streak in NHL history, behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins' 17-game run from March 9 - April 10, 1993.
* The League-leading Blue Jackets (26-5-4, 56 points) also extended their record overall point streak to 17 games (16-0-1) and road point streak to 11 games (10-0-1), establishing another record.
* The Blue Jackets, who ended December 14-0-0 (28 points), also extended records for wins and points in a calendar month. Elias notes that the Blue Jackets became the second team in NHL history to win every game in a calendar month (min. 10 GP), joining the 2012-13 Penguins (15-0-0 in March).
* Sergei Bobrovsky (29 saves) extended his NHL career high, and Blue Jackets record win and point streaks, to 13 and 15 games (14-0-1), respectively.
Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr (1-1-2) earned his 1,135th NHL assist to tie Paul Coffey for fifth on the League's all-time list . . . New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider (3-0-3) scored his second NHL hat trick and Henrik Lundqvist (25 saves) earned his 390th win to pass Dominik Hasek (389) for 12th on the NHL's all-time list among goaltenders . . . Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin (16-27-43) scored his 10th NHL regular-season overtime goal and is tied with Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (14-29-43) for the most points in the League this season . . . Kings forward Jeff Carter scored his NHL-leading seventh game-winning goal . . . Carolina Hurricanes equipment manager Jorge Alves played the final 7.6 seconds of the third period as an emergency backup goaltender . . . Former Boston Pride forward Denna Laing dropped the ceremonial puck at TD Garden.