The National Hockey League (NHL) season is wrapping up its third month of play. With the conclusion of 2019 brings a special NHL tradition. On New Year’s Day, the NHL puts on a spectacle called the Winter Classic. The Winter Classic is a yearly game that takes place outdoors. The 12th Annual Winter Classic will feature the Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars. The Stars are the home team, with the game taking place at the Cotton Bowl. This is a Western Conference, Central Division showdown. Both teams look to start the 2020 year off with a win. As we head towards playoffs positioning, a New Year’s Day win can make all the difference.
The Dallas Stars enter the Winter Classic with 48 points. The Stars have won 22 games and lost 14. They have also lost four games in either overtime or a shootout. Dallas sits in the third position in the Central Division standings. If the season ended today, the Stars would make the playoffs and would travel to Colorado in the first round. Dallas is led in points by center, Tyler Seguin. He has accounted for 32 points, with 21 of those points coming via assists. The Stars are led in goals by left-winger, Roope Hintz. Hintz has scored 13 goals on the season. The home team has not fared well in the history of the Winter Classic. Dallas hopes the 12th Annual Winter Classic goes in their favor.
The Nashville Predators come into Dallas with 42 points. The Predators, in 38 games, have managed only 18 wins with 14 losses. Additionally, Nashville has lost six games in overtime or shootouts. The Predators are second to last in the Central Division Standings, however, only ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks. Defenseman Roman Josi leads Nashville in all major categories. He leads the Predators in goals, assists, and total points. Josi has scored 14 goals, has 25 assists, and has registered 39 total points. It was just three seasons ago the Predators advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup. Nashville has not missed the playoffs since the 2013-2014 season. The Predators hope a Winter Classic win can jumpstart the second half of their season. While a playoff berth seems to be out of reach, the Predators still have three months to make some noise before it is all said and done.
12th Annual Winter Classic: History
As mentioned earlier, the home team has not done well in Winter Classic games. The home team is just 3-8 in the previous 11 games. Both Dallas and Nashville are making their first appearances in the Winter Classic. Despite this being their first meeting in the Winter Classic, these two teams have met earlier this season. On December 14, Dallas traveled to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The Stars prevailed in the game, winning 4-1. In addition to the Winter Classic, these two will meet twice more this season. Late in the season, a divisional win can swing the standings one way or another. Each team hopes to get the better of their division rival before the end of the season.
12th Annual Winter Classic: Outlook
The 12th Annual Winter Classic will come your way on New Year’s Day at 1:00 CST. The game will air on NBC in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada. Historically, the Winter Classic has been played competitively and closely. There have only been two instances where a blowout took place. On the contrary, there have been four games that have been decided in overtime or a shootout. As a result of close games, I expect nothing less from this year’s matchup. Furthermore, I expect the game to be close throughout and be decided in the third period. Expect a low scoring game that could see a game-winning goal scored in the third period, overtime, or shootout. Who will take home the title of 2020 Winter Classic Champion? Tune in tomorrow at 1:00 central to find out.
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