As players like Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Auston Matthews become mainstays in the league, let's hope they don't forget the fun parts of the game.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (6-5-3): James Neal continued his goal-scoring binge by scoring twice on Saturday, increasing his point total to nine (six goals, three assists) in his last seven games. That's a career pace and that's on Marner, who has made his linemates better.
The Detroit Red Wings roster for the December 31 Centennial Classic Alumni Game against the Toronto Maple Leafs features eight Hall of Famers, including Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov.
The Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues are playing their Winter Classic alumni game on the same day at Busch Stadium, and some big-named players who played important roles for those squads will be in Toronto instead.
The Toronto Maple Leafs look for some sort of consistency after splitting their last 10 games.
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Importantly, after much harping on the defensive side of the game in the past several days, the Leafs held the Predators to 34 shots on goal. Bozak passes it to JVR who comes from the boards to the opposite end of the faceoff circle, shoots, and then catches his own rebound off the pads to net his fifth goal of the year.
Neal scored almost four minutes later off a cross-crease pass from Ryan Johansen, but van Riemsdyk restored the two-goal lead 7:52 into the second period. Defensively, the Nashville Predators are allowing 2.5 goals per game and are killing 80.9 percent of their opponents power plays.
Arvidsson finally finished one of his many opportunities with 3:51 left in the second, beating Andersen low glove side on a breakaway after Jake Gardiner and Polak were caught at Nashville's blue line on a Toronto turnover. "He's good with his body position to come up with pucks and obviously he's got a good stick too". "For the most part, our game was all right, but you have to score to win and they did just that". Marner's special. He's going to make lots of plays - he does that each night. "Our team is thrilled to be able to deliver exclusive content of this top player and we are committed to delivering Maple Leafs fans the best in terms of licensed trading card content for Matthews".
Frederik Andersen made 31 saves for Toronto while Mazanec stopped 26-of-32 shots for Nashville. Hyman left alone when he has a shooting chance, Nylander suffering from, as Arvind put it, "Phaneuf-itis", missing the net with many shots, Matthews still paying back the hockey gods for the four goal debut game. He is charismatic, fun and exactly what the media wants in a hockey player.
The Predators continue their three-game road trip on Thursday in Ottawa against the Senators before finishing on Saturday in St. Louis. I'm sure someone good will do it.