While the 2020 Winter Classic was an epic sight deep in the heart of Texas, the outdoor game may have possessed Stanley Cup Final implications.
The NHL completed its 12th Bridgestone Winter Classic on New Year’s Day and once again the outdoor game was a thing of beauty for all sports fans alike.
Better yet, the ice conditions held up considering the game was hosted at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, TX. The Dallas Stars celebrated the victory with their loyal fans over the Nashville Predators at what appeared to be one of the most festive events the NHL has ever witnessed.
The Stars might celebrate a bit more in the future considering what history portrays with teams that skated in prior Winter Classic games. Perhaps the Nashville Predators also participating in their first outdoor game was a blessing in disguise regardless if the Music City won the contest or not.
Since the game’s first Winter Classic back in 2008, five teams advanced to the Stanley Cup Final that same season after respectively participating in the outdoor game. If either the Stars or Predators accomplish that feat and win the Western Conference this season – you can do the math.
That’s a fantastic percentage for teams that earned the honor to play in a Winter Classic. Here’s a list of teams that advanced to the Stanley Cup Final after skating in a Winter Classic:
- 2008 – Pittsburgh Penguins
- 2009 – Detroit Red Wings
- 2010 – Philadelphia Flyers
- 2015 – Chicago Blackhawks
- 2019 – Boston Bruins
Another interesting note is that all those teams mentioned above have skated in more than one outdoor game, whether it was a Winter Classic or Stadium Series contest. The 2015 Blackhawks were the only team that won the Stanley Cup, though.
Can Dallas or Nashville advance to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final?
Dallas portrayed a momentum shift in its game since head coach Rick Bowness took over for Jim Montgomery in December, and history is on the Stars’ side in that sense too. Since 2009, four teams fired their head coaches during the regular season and advanced to win a Stanley Cup championship. There’s a chance the coaching change in Dallas could mark the fifth team for an interesting trend, no?
In the Music City, the Predators find themselves outside of the Stanley Cup playoff picture during the first week of January. Yet, the perennial playoff contender entails the potential to make a run at clinching a wild card berth and making a run at the Stanley Cup Final.
Nashville’s blue line is deep and a goaltender such as Pekka Rinne is capable of turning around his season, plus catching fire at the right time. Speaking of coaching changes, Nashville’s head coach Peter Laviolette is arguably on the hot seat and if there’s a team that makes a realistic case for “this year’s” St. Louis Blues — it’s the Predators, who’ve felt blue emotions all season.