Weeks after the outdoor hockey season arrived with the NHL 100 Classic, it's time for the 10th Winter Classic.
An annual outdoor showdown to welcome in the new year, this season's rendition is all about the Big Apple, as the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers will square off at Citi Field, home of MLB's New York Mets.
A NHL's decision to make the Sabres the "home" team in the 2018 Classic, which will be hosted hundreds of miles from Buffalo on New Year's Day. But it also makes for a tribute to the first-ever Winter Classic, which was inaugurated in 2008 when the Sabres welcomed the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Buffalo Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium (now New Era Field) in Orchard Park.may have been behind the
Among the NHL's most-watched games, the Classic has featured the Rangers once before -- New York topped the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in 2012. This year's matchup will also play host to some .
With New Year's fast approaching, here's everything you need to know about Monday's special outdoor matchup:
How to watch, stream
- Face-off time: Jan. 1, 1 p.m. Eastern
- TV: NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
- Streaming: FuboTV (try for free), NHL.tv
Who will win?
The Rangers and Sabres are in very different places entering this year's Winter Classic, and the obvious favorite coming into Monday's matchup should be New York -- the Rangers, that is. There were some early-season calls for Alain Vigneault to be dismissed or at least thrust onto the hot seat as the Blueshirts struggled out of the gate, a disorganized mess on defense in front of aging goalie Henrik Lundqvist, but he's tweaked enough here and there over the last month or two to have his club almost squarely in the middle of the Metropolitan Division. Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes have stepped up, and the Rangers also outnumber the Sabres in outdoor experience, if that counts for anything, since they're also veterans of the NHL's Stadium Series.
Buffalo, meanwhile, offers just as much talent in the "young hotshot" category thanks almost exclusively to Jack Eichel, the 21-year-old who this year and often with his highlight-reel plays. Just about everything else has gone wrong for the club in 2017-18, though, and the surest way to confirm that is a look at the standings, where the Sabres' 9-20-8 record and minus-43 goal differential is rivaled only by the atrocious Arizona Coyotes. It's gotten to the point where the biggest headlines about their games have to do with their goalie claiming that officials "predetermine" poor results for Buffalo. Still, the team hasn't completely rolled over, putting up a fight against the New York Islanders on Wednesday and topping the Flyers the week before, so maybe they're due for an upset -- and a win to avenge their first annual Winter Classic defeat.