Maple Leafs, Red Wings square off in Winter Classic preview

Leafs' David Clarkson gives teammate James van Riemsdyk a tickle at practice at the Air Canada...

Leafs' David Clarkson gives teammate James van Riemsdyk a tickle at practice at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 20, 2013. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:53 PM ET

Before taking their long-standing spat outside in front of a six-figure crowd at the Big House, the Maple Leafs and Red Wings have a none-too-small indoor game that’s huge in its own way.

The injury-riddled Wings and the wayward Leafs meet Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, neither playing up to the level of ‘Classic’ to which their New Year’s Day match in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been billed.

Both clubs had worrisome losing streaks up to their shootout victories on Thursday and have shared the often unwanted attention of HBO’s 24/7 cameras swirling about the past couple of weeks. The build-up to the Winter Classic is quickly usurping the four games still on Toronto’s schedule, so Saturday serves as an appetizer.


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