Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where the Last Word on Hockey team provides insight into today’s special outdoor game. Let’s enjoy New Year’s Day with the 2020 Winter Classic in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. In the traditional first game of the calendar year, the Dallas Stars will host the Nashville Predators.
2020 Winter Classic
It’s just a normal regular-season matchup, where the winner ends up with the conventional two points in the standings. However, this prestigious game means more for all the players and fans involved. Winter Classic stage is always so unique. Both the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators will play in the Winter Classic venue for the first time in their respective franchise histories.
The NHL has seen 11 Winter Classic games in its history so far. From those 11 occasions from 2008, the visitors have prevailed in eight cases. Often, this game is always a treat to watch. However, it’s usually a tight-checking match right until the end. Six times, the Winter Classic has been decided by only one goal, four times it went past 60 minutes. The only exceptions to this trend are the Winter Classic games in 2016 and 2017, where the Boston Bruins lost 5-1 to the Montreal Canadiens, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1, respectively.
Apart from those two results, we haven’t seen such lopsided margins to decide the game on New Year’s Day (because in 2012, and 2017 this game took place on January 2nd). For just the third time in the Winter Classic history, and the second time in a row, the special outdoor game will be played on the college football stadium.
Cotton Bowl Stadium can receive up to 96,000 fans. This should be the second most-attended Winter Classic ever, falling just short behind the 105,491 attendance from 2014 Winter Classic on Michigan Stadium, where the Toronto Maple Leafs took down the Detroit Red Wings in the shootout. Only once in the Winter Classic history have we seen a game with both teams scoring at least three goals, it happened in 2009, where the Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks on Wrigley Field 6-4.
Nashville Predators vs. Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Predators 0-1 Stars
After all the Winter Classic and New Year’s Day festivities, the ice will be tilted with both teams desperately looking for two points, as we take a look at it in our NHL Predictions. Last year, these two squads met in the first round of the playoffs. The Stars entered the series as the wild card team, while the Predators came off the Central Division title. The Stars took down the Preds in six games.
In the first and only regular-season matchup this year, Dallas won 4-1 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The Stars sit comfortably inside the playoff picture with 48 points. In their last 11 contests, the Stars are 7-3-1. After the mandatory Christmas break, Dallas has won back-to-back tilts, downing the Colorado Avalanche and the Arizona Coyotes.
On the other hand, the Predators went 6-2-1 in nine contests before Christmas. Returning back from Christmas break, the Preds faced the back-to-back, home-and-home matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nashville certainly doesn’t like Pittsburgh, as the Pens won both games in regulation with a total score of 11-6. The usually impenetrable Predators are nowhere near the League’s best in terms of goals-against. Nashville has 42 points, sitting outside of the playoff frame.
Pekka Rinne and Ben Bishop are both expected to start the 2020 Winter Classic. The top point-getters on each side – Preds’ captain Roman Josi with 39 points, and the Dallas’ star Tyler Seguin with 32 points. The Stars and the Predators will become the 12th and 13th teams to ever participate in the Winter Classic.
Prediction: Predators win 3-2.
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