The 2020 Winter Classic, hosted by the Dallas Stars, saw almost 86,000 fans in attendance, not to have them leaving disappointed, as both teams put on a show.
Starting off in the first period of play, less than three minutes into the game, Stars forward Corey Perry launched an elbow into Predators defensemen Ryan Ellis. This would send him to the quiet room where he would be tested for concussion protocol. Perry got called for a five-minute misconduct and would find himself ejected early on.
Here would start a typical five-on-four penalty kill for the hometown Stars. This would be until there was about 3:30 left in the five-on-four power play when Blake Comeau launched the puck for a clear, but goes out of bounds, being called for delay of game. As such, this would result in a two-minute power play and five-on-three for Nashville.
This would be followed by a flurry of Predators shots, one sneaking by Bishop off the stick of Matt Duchene to make it 1-0 Nashville. About two minutes later, with 10 seconds left on the five-minute major left by Corey Perry, Predators defensemen Dante Fabbro would score to make it 2-0 Nashville. Unfortunately, the damage wasn’t over yet.
Before the end of the first period, Blake Comeau would find himself levelled by Austin Watson before leaving for the quiet room for concussion protocol. This would conclude the first period with Nashville up 2-0 on Dallas.
The second period would start with a surprise return of Blake Comeau to the bench, but unfortunately, no Ryan Ellis who would be listed with an upper-body injury. Perhaps the best part of the second period was this play where Andrew Cogliano comes zooming into the zone, losing a tire and taking the net with him.
Also in the second period, Blake Comeau, in his return to the game, scored the first momentum shifting goal for the Stars to make it 2-1.
Going into the game’s final frame, down to Nashville by a goal 2-1, the Stars would turn on the rockets with multiple breakaway chances, but none going through and in past Rinne. As well, Blackwell would go to the box for delay of game with time to serve from the the second, resuming a penalty. The Stars would then make it into the offensive zone, Klingberg firing a shot towards the net, but deflected down towards the ice and through Pekka Rinne’s pads to tie the game up at two.
Afterwards, Peter Laviolette, the head coach for the Nashville Predators, would call a timeout after the Stars launched seven shots at Pekka Rinne in less than three minutes. This would be good call by the coach to try and slow the game down, but unfortunately, the Stars just kept coming. Nothing was going to stop this team from losing at home in fromt of 86,000 fans.
Ryan Johansen left for the box after holding defensemen Miro Heiskanen and Alexander Radulov rose to the challenge and hates to disappoint, so he scored a goal, as he does, putting Dallas up 3-2.
Andrej Sekera would shove the last goal in by Rinne off a shot from Radek Faksa, this being his first of the season to extend Dallas’ lead to 4-2 at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
This was one of the biggest games the Stars have ever played in the NHL and no part of it was disappointing besides the game misconduct for Perry. This game was exciting from start to finish from the animosity to the goals and of course, the pig races. If you were to watch one game over and over again, it should be this one.