Outdoor hockey is back!
But this time it won’t be in a Football or Baseball stadium. This year hockey returns to its roots. A Lake! Lake Tahoe, to be exact. The NHL travels back to the great outdoors. And while the game will be played “lake adjacent”, rather than ON the lake, the images of the snowy mountains and glistening waters of Lake Tahoe will make a stunning backdrop for the world’s fastest sport.
So, who will be the four lucky teams set to play in what will no doubt be hockey’s most beautiful setting? I’m glad you asked.
Saturday 3pm on NBC: Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche
I mean, right? Of course the Avs were going to be involved in a game played before actual mountains! They come into this game 3rd in the West Division trailing the Golden Knights by 4 points in the standings and looking to make up ground. Colorado boasts a 25% conversion rate this season, having scored 14 goals on the man advantage. Nathan MacKinnon leads the Avs with 15 points and goaltender Philipp Grubauer is 8-3 with a 1.64 GAA.
On the Golden Knights side, they head up Route 95, trading the Sunny 60 degree weather for the blustery cold of the wilderness. That shouldn’t affect Canada’s own Marc-André Fleury though. The man once made a diving save on Nicklas Lidström in the waning seconds of a Stanley Cup Game 7. He has ice water in his veins. He’s also 7-2 on the season with a league leading 1.56 GAA. The Golden Knights are led by Mark Stone with 16 points and Max Pacioretty with 8 goals.
Prediction: With the Avs getting the better of the Knights on Tuesday I think this one swings back around. Golden Knights 2 Avalanche 2
Sunday 2pm on NBC: Philadelphia Flyers vs Boston Bruins
Philly is flying high to the tune of an 8-3-3 record, good enough for 2nd in the loaded East Division. They’re looking to rebound off of Tuesday’s shootout loss to the Rangers and looking to keep pace with the division leading Bruins. James van Riemsdyk has 18 points on the season and Carter Hart is expected to get the nod in between the pipes. His record on the season is 5-2-3.
The division leading Bruins enter this game trying to rebound from two losses in a row to the Devils and Islanders. Despite that, they still maintain a 3 point cushion on the rest of the division. Veteran netminder Tukka Rask will get the start on the lake for Boston. He is 6-2 on the season with a 2.51 GAA. This will be Rask’s 3rd appearance in an outdoor game. Racing down the ice and looking to do some damage will be the top line duo of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand who each boast 18 points to their name this season.
Prediction: With both teams coming off of recent losses I have to go with the better team and that is the Boson Bruins. They also have more recent experience in outdoor games in the last few years. Bruins 4 Flyers 2
Hockey Like You’ve Never Seen It Before
As if the snow capped mountains and glimmering waters of Lake Tahoe weren’t enough. NBC will use two drones as part of its broadcast. One drone will carry a Sony HDC-P50 camera aimed at capturing beautiful shots of the surrounding areas, and the 2nd is capable of traveling up to 70mph – fast enough to keep up with all the NHL action. And while this broadcast won’t feature the impressive 8K cameras we’ve seen in recent NFL and WWE broadcasts, it should make for a fun way to watch hockey in a gorgeous setting.
Now here is something you don’t normally read about when it comes to a hockey game. The weather. These players will definitely be braving the elements on the lake this weekend.
Saturday will see a high of 37, mostly Sunny with 15-25mph winds. Possibly some snow in the evening – perhaps as much as 1-3 inches. Sunday will be 43 and sunny with winds not as strong as Saturday, down to 5-10mph.
The sun will be a factor for sure. If past outdoor games are any indication we will probably see a break at the midpoint of each period, so the teams can switch sides, giving each team equal footing in regard to any glare we may see.
Oh, we are into COMPLETE coverage now folks! Special hockey games call for special jersey fashions. We see it all the time in both the annual Winter Classic and the Stadium Series. This year the teams will be wearing their Reverse Retro Throwback jerseys.
The Nordiques are back! Now I don’t know who I’d rather see win – MAF or these sick Quebec Nordique inspired jerseys.
The Golden Knights will be sporting Red with their alternate logo front and center
The Flyers will be modestly throwing it back to the ’70s, the last decade that saw the team hoist Lord Stanley.
The B’s will be buzzing on the lake this Sunday. If the sun doesn’t blind the Flyers these jerseys sure will!
Enjoy the NHL in the great outdoors this weekend hockey fans!
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