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Road to the NHL Winter Classic: Episode 2 review

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A visit to Dorchester, struggling Habs, surging Bruins and a performance from Brad Marchand.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Road to the NHL Winter Classic, the behind-the-scenes look at the Bruins and Canadiens from Epix, returns to the digital airwaves tonight at 10 PM. We were able to view the press screening of the series' second episode prior to its official release, so the review below contains "spoilers" of sorts. If you want to be surprised, come back and read later.

Episode 2 begins with the Bruins losing to Edmonton, though the producers don't do much with that game. Instead, they skip ahead to the Bruins' star of the series starring in a different role: Brad Marchand performs a reading of The Night Before Christmas at the Boston Pops.

Jimmy Hayes gets the most airtime of any Bruin in this episode, as the cameras follow Hayes to his hometown of Dorchester. I grew up a few houses up from the Hayes brothers, meaning I thought this episode was the greatest episode of any TV show ever.

Hayes shows the cameras the Eire Pub, Boston Bowl, the Devine Rink and more, ending in a trip to his childhood home where he gets a scolding from his mother for not paying parking tickets.

The good vibes being felt in the Bruins' locker room directly contrast the mood in Montreal, where the Canadiens are in the middle of a big-time struggle. While being filmed, the Habs lose to San Jose, Los Angeles and Dallas, and frustrations mount.

We get to see a lighter side of the Habs' answer to Brad Marchand, as Brendan Gallagher takes cameras inside his home, talks about his recovery from injury and shows off a gift from his mother.

Other profiled Canadiens include Torey Mitchell, who talks about life raising two young daughters, and PK Subban, who is followed by cameras on a trip to a local children's hospital. (If you are still one of the holdouts who refuses to like off-ice PK Subban, this will probably be the episode that pushes you over the edge).

Producers got lucky with the Bruins' trip to Pittsburgh, simply setting former Penguin Max Talbot loose and letting him do all the talking. Talbot takes viewers to a few of his favorite Pittsburgh spots and is entertaining as always.

Overall, this episode featured a lot more behind-the-scenes off-ice action and fewer inside-the-locker-room scenes. If you enjoy seeing the players in "real life," you'll love this episode; if you're more into hearing players talking in the locker room or listening to coaches talk strategy, you might be a little bored.

Overall, episode 2 gets a 10 out of 10 from biased Dorchester me (come on, the Eire!). Real me gives the episode a 7 out of 10. The episode does a great job with the off-ice coverage, but the on-ice stuff (at least from a Bruins perspective) is a bit lacking.

Episode rating: 7 out of 10

Highlights of the episode:

  • Best on-ice moment In the Bruins' game in Pittsburgh, Max Talbot does a lot of talking. The best parts feature Talbot giving Ian Cole a hard time and Talbot ripping on Patric Hornqvist after Hornqvist doesn't want to fight Ryan Spooner.
  • Best off-ice moment Jimmy Hayes enters his parents' house with a final notice-type parking sticker in his hand, only to be scolded by mother Shelagh, who warns him of the dangers of unpaid parking tickets. Come on, Jim. You just signed that three-year deal, gotta pay the city.
  • Best off-ice moment from the Habs Brendan Gallagher gives a great look into what it's like to be stuck on the shelf, providing a glimpse of the loneliness David Pastrnak was referring to a few days back. Gallagher discusses how his mother kept him company during the initial stages of the injury and, in an "awwwwwwwww" moment, shows off a gift his mother gave him to cheer him up.
  • Interesting interaction A referee separating Cole from Talbot informs Cole that Talbot caught him with a good, clean hit, much to Cole's chagrin.
  • GIF-able moment Brad Marchand peeking out from backstage prior to his Pops reading will make its way around the internet.
Episode 2 will be available on EpixHD.com tonight at 10 PM.