Ann Arbor — Daniel Cleary had more than his share of quality scoring chances for the Red Wings in their Winter Classic game with the Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium.
In fact, Cleary had three of them, but came up empty each time in the Red Wings’ shootout loss to the Maple Leafs.
“It was a great experience,” said Cleary of playing before an announced crowd of 105,491 at the Big House. “It was an intimate setting, considering there were 110,000 people, pretty awesome really.
“I had a lot of looks at the net, feel like my type of game.”
Cleary’s best chance could have been in the opening period when he was set up by Pavel Datsyuk’s pass from the right corner, but Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped his shot from point blank range with seven minutes left.
Then, Cleary had two chances in the second, but shot the puck through the crease at the midway point, then he broke in alone on Bernier, who made a save during the Red Wings’ power play with 5 ½ minutes left.
“It was a different feel than Wrigley,” said Cleary who played with the Red Wings when they defeated the Blackhawks, 6-4, in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago five years ago. “I don’t know. It’s (Michigan Stadium) a great venue to host a hockey game for sure, but too bad there was that much snowfall because it affected a little bit of the play, just handling the puck.”
While Cleary failed to take advantage of his chances, the Leafs’ James Van Riemsdyk had three grade A chances … all coming in the second period, and he capitalized on his final one.
“I got a couple of whacks on the rebound and it went in,” said Van Riemsdyk, who attended Ann Arbor Pioneer while playing for the USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.
Van Riemsdyk had been a villain to Jimmy Howard by constantly standing near the front of the net. He scored off the rebound with 36.5 seconds left in the second period to pull the Leafs even at 1.
He was also stationed in front when Dion Phaneuf’s shot deflected off Tyler Bozak’s stick for a 2-1 lead 4:41 into the third.
Howard stopped Van Riemsdyk during the shootout but couldn’t stop Bozak whose shootout goal proved to be the difference.
Luke Glendening couldn’t have received a better honor than to take the Big House ice for the Red Wings and then take the opening faceoff in the Winter Classic game.
Glendening is the king of the outdoor games, playing in his fifth one and second in the last three days. He had 24 shifts and a total of 14 minutes, 40 seconds of ice time.
Glendening was a walk-on at Michigan, playing in three outdoor games for the Wolverines, including a 5-0 victory over Michigan State in the Big Chill game played before a record crowd of 104,173 Dec. 11, 2010 at the Big House.
The Red Wings sent Glendening, down to Grand Rapids this past weekend, giving him the chance to play for the Griffins in the Winter Festival AHL game at Comerica Park Monday.
He took advantage of the opportunity by scoring two goals in a shootout loss to the Toronto Marlies.
Well, Glendening was called up by the Red Wings Tuesday, giving him a chance to play in his second outdoor game.
He had a great chance to be a hero for the Red Wings on his home turf, but failed to score on a backhander with 12:27 left in regulation.
Quincey enjoys scene
Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey grew up a Maple Leafs’ fan in Kitchener, Ontario, so he was thrilled to be playing against them in the Winter Classic.
“There was a lot of snow, but the ice was great. It brought back memories of growing up, but I don’t know if 105,000 people were watching,” Quincey said. “And, I was wearing a Maple Leafs’ jersey back then.”
Wings forward Patrick Eaves did not return after getting cross-checked near the head by the Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul in the first period. His injury was listed as an upper body injury.
… Darren Helm was scratched from the lineup due to a groin injury. Helm played in Monday’s game, a 6-4 loss at Nashville, after missing the previous 11 games because of a shoulder injury.
... The Maple Leafs held a 37-13 advantage in hits, but the Wings led in shots 43-26.
... NBC used 82 cameras to televise the event.