At the 2022 Stadium Series, the Predators hosted the Lightning with country music stars, jerseys that looked better on TV, a surprising helping of hatred, and some good action. There was even some unintentional comedy. Yet the hockey world had little choice but to shift its attention to an absolutely wild game between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs.
Let’s take a look at both spectacles, which overlapped at times on Saturday.
Predators Lightning 2022 Stadium Series
One of the most memorable moments of the 2022 Stadium Series happened before the Red Wings and Predators got going.
Not long after the Predators retired his number 35, Pekka Rinne joined some Titans players (including … a punter?) to get the action going. At one point, Rinne threw a catfish, and hilarity ensued.
This is the greatest thing we've ever seen pic.twitter.com/JQxdwtDVXy
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) February 27, 2022
Why it’s always important to have multiple camera angles:
Heads up! pic.twitter.com/UrXZGJgmYL
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 27, 2022
Perhaps sensing Corey Perry‘s presence in a Predators-related outdoor game, the 2022 Stadium Series began with a controversial hit. Ryan Johansen saw a major turn into a minor penalty for an iffy hit on Erik Cernak:
Johansen hits Cernak high. Initially, it's called as a major but after review, it's reduced to a minor. pic.twitter.com/QAOIoX5PE7
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) February 27, 2022
If this was a typical game, would Ryan Johansen have received a major or minor penalty? Cernak returned to the contest, but eventually left during the second period, and did not return.
For a portion of that game, bitter feelings carried over. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare dropped the gloves with Johansen following that hit on Cernak:
Through the first period, rising Predators rookie Tanner Jeannot scored the only goal. That tally happened on a power play, but Tampa Bay’s special teams eventually shifted the balance.
Ultimately, both the Predators and Lightning scored two power-play goals during the 2022 Stadium Series. Steven Stamkos was the only play to score at even-strength, and that ended up being the game-winner.
The Bolts won 3-2.
But, for all the fireworks — literal and figurative — the 2022 Stadium Series got upstaged by a baffling game between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. (At least Red Wings – Maple Leafs ended with about a period of Predators – Lightning remaining.)
how do the leafs affect the annual stadium series game? pic.twitter.com/0ipJv2m4ZU
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) February 27, 2022
Maple Leafs beat Red Wings 10-7 in a nightmarish night for goalies
If the Maple Leafs weren’t already pondering a goalie upgrade at the trade deadline, the Red Wings may have given them an extra push.
Through the first two periods of Maple Leafs – Red Wings, the story was Mitch Marner and his hot line with Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting. Overall, Marner stood out as the biggest star. He didn’t just generate his first hat trick in that game. Marner ended up with four goals and six points for the first time in his prolific NHL career.
But people weren’t making a ton of jokes and dropping their jaws at Marner setting career-highs.
Entering the third period, the Maple Leafs built a 7-2 lead against the Red Wings.
In just 5:21 of that third period, the Red Wings scored four goals, shrinking the Maple Leafs’ lead to 7-6. About a minute-and-a-half later, Ilya Mikheyev made it 8-6. That wasn’t much solace, though, as Lucas Raymond scored about 45 seconds after Mikheyev, pushing the game to within a goal (8-7).
It wasn’t until Ondrej Kase‘s shorthanded goal (the 9-7 tally) that the Maple Leafs likely felt reasonably safe against the Red Wings again. Fittingly, Marner’s fourth goal added that last bit of insurance.
Honestly … just breathe all this wild stuff in:
As the smoke cleared, there were some staggering numbers and plenty of jokes. Consider a few tidbits:
- The Maple Leafs scored those 10 goals against the Red Wings without receiving a power-play opportunity.
- Ice-cold John Tavares ended up pointless despite Toronto scoring 10 goals.
- No surprise that it’s been more than a decade since we’ve seen an offensive onslaught like this:
The @MapleLeafs (10) and @DetroitRedWings (7) combined for 17 goals – the most in a single game since the Jets and Flyers on Oct. 27, 2011 (17).#NHLStats: https://t.co/IhQQaL7gc3 pic.twitter.com/bVHg80KTaj
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 27, 2022
So, no shame for the Lightning, Predators, and NHL in pulling off that 2022 Stadium Series. Sometimes (OK, one time) the Maple Leafs and Red Wings just combine for 17 goals.