It was with great trepidation that I sat down to watch the Leafs play the Red Wings tonight. The Leafs had lost 5 in a row, despite the fact that they’d managed to send 3 of them to extra time to pick up a point. They came into this one desperate to take 2 points home, let’s see if they could get it done.
This one couldn’t have started much better for the Leafs, as on the 3rd shift of the game, Mitch Marner found Tyler Bozak for a point blank shot. Petr Mrazek was able to get across and make a tremendous save, but the rebound careened to Alexey Marchenko, who put the puck in the back of the net for his first goal as a Maple Leaf, against his former team. The Wings would challenge for goalie interference as JvR would make contact with Mrazek, however it was deemed that he was pushed into the net by Justin Abdelkader, making the goal stand. Less than 5 minutes later, the Leafs would be on the power play, and just seconds in JvR, riding a long goalless drought, would redirect a Bozak shot home for a 2-0 Leafs lead. The Wings didn’t show much life in the first apart from a late power play which they were gift as JvR appeared to try to push Mike Green from behind. He might have grazed him, it might have been the wind that knocked Green down, either way, the Leafs and Freddie Andersen stood tall and the 1st Period would end 2-0 Leafs.
The Leafs went back to the penalty kill shortly after the start of the 2nd, after another questionable call against JvR, who apparently ran over the referee’s shrubs on the way to the rink today. It didn’t matter though as the Leafs would kill it off and then manage to add to the lead as Matt Hunwick raced to keep the puck in at the line, working it down to William Nylander, who then found Nazem Kadri wide open in front for his 27th goal of the year. And for the majority of the 2nd period the only thing that would hit Freddie Andersen was Nick Jensen, and that’s a penalty, but late in the 2nd, Morgan Rielly tried to work the puck up the boards to Auston Matthews, who had it stolen from him, and the Wings found Gustav Nyquist alone in front of the net to cut the Leafs lead to 3-1 heading to the locker room after the 2nd.
The 3rd period would start a lot like the 2nd ended as Gustav Nyquist would elude the Leafs and put a puck past Freddie Andersen 36 seconds in to cut the Wings deficit to 3-2. The rest of the period featured the Leafs trying to cycle the puck in the Wings zone and melt time off the clock. That would be effective for about the first half of the frame until the Wings were able to start generating sustained pressure on the Leafs, including a shot that rang off Andersen’s mask, and another goal mouth scramble that ended with Nazem Kadri laying on the puck just outside the crease. Ultimately the Leafs would manage to withstand the Wings’ pressure and hang on for the 4-3 win. They’ll be in action on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
SCORING BY PERIOD
Toronto Goal 1:07 A. Marchenko (1) assisted by T. Bozak and M. Marner
Toronto Goal 6:38 J. van Riemsdyk (20) (power play) assisted by T. Bozak and M. Marner
Toronto Goal 5:49 N. Kadri (27) assisted by W. Nylander and M. Hunwick
Detroit Goal 19:22 G. Nyquist (8) assisted by H. Zetterberg and T. Tatar
Detroit Goal 0:36 G. Nyquist (9) assisted by M. Green and H. Zetterberg
SHOTS ON GOAL
MIKE BABCOCK POS GAME SCRUM