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Originally published Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 9:51 PM

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Maple Leafs beat Red Wings before record 105,491

All afternoon they played at the Big House in the NHL’s sixth Winter Classic, and it was finally won by the Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tyler Bozak’s shootout goal amid the snowflakes and under the lights.


Seattle Times news services

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Through the snow and cold they came, more than 100,000 fans from all corners of Michigan and across the country, and pouring over the border from Ontario, clogging the customs stations at Detroit. Bundled in their warmest winter gear, they converged on Michigan Stadium on Wednesday to celebrate hockey’s icy origins and support two of the sport’s oldest, most popular teams, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

All afternoon they played at the Big House in the NHL’s sixth Winter Classic, and it was finally won by the Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tyler Bozak’s shootout goal amid the snowflakes and under the lights.

It was the most aesthetically pleasing Winter Classic since the first one, in 2008, also in the snow at a football stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. That one was attended by 71,000 fans, but this one was much bigger. The announced crowd, 105,491, will set an attendance record for a hockey game if it is confirmed by Guinness World Records. The old record was 104,173, set at the same stadium for a 2010 NCAA game between Michigan and Michigan State.

The temperature was 13 degrees at game time, and a steady snowfall that started before dawn delayed traffic, turning a 45-minute drive from Detroit into a crawl of more than two hours and forcing some fans to miss the opening faceoff.

But the mood was festive in the stadium, with the fan support split evenly, entire blocks of hundreds of seats dominated either by blue-clad Leafs fans or red-clad Wings fans. At first the Leafs fans were louder, in contrast to their quiet demeanor at home; in the game’s third minute, the stadium rocked to a “Go, Leafs, go” chant.

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo expects to return to the Canucks’ lineup soon and be ready to play for Canada in the Olympics.

Luongo took part in his first workout with the team Wednesday since suffering a lower-body injury Dec. 22 against Winnipeg.

“This is my first team practice, so I’m feeling good,” Luongo said. “Everything’s progressing really well right now.”

Note

• Toronto acquired veteran defenseman Tim Gleason from the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman John-Michael Liles. The Hurricanes also received the rights to Brown University defenseman Dennis Robertson.



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