Red Wings fall to Leafs in preseason finale

Detroit News

Next up, the real season.

The games that don’t count ended Saturday for the Red Wings, with a 5-1 loss in Toronto.

Pius Suter opened the scoring with a first-period goal, set up by Adam Erne and Gustav Lindstrom.

But Toronto answered with five unanswered goals, with Auston Matthews (both power play) and William Nylander (one power play) each scoring two goals, and Denis Malgin adding a goal.

Wings goaltender Jussi Olkinuora stopped 13 of 15 shots, and Victor Brattstrom made eight of 11 saves.

Special teams proved to be a significant difference in the game. Toronto scored three power-play goals (on four attempts), while the Wings were goal-less in five opportunities.

BOX SCORE: Maple Leafs 5, Red Wings 1

Toronto outshot the Wings 26-19.

The Wings finished the exhibition season with a 3-5-0 record. They open the regular season Friday at Little Caesars Arena against Montreal.

Cossa heads to GR

The Red Wings assigned goaltender Sebastian Cossa to the minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins.

Cossa, the Wings’ 2021 first-round draft pick (15th overall), played in two exhibition games, stopping 20-of-21 shots. Cossa also played well during the prospects tournament in early September, igniting a stretch of fine goaltending.

The Wings have sent Cossa to Grand Rapids, but it’s likely Cossa will wind up in Toledo (ECHL).

The Griffins have Olkinuora and Brattstrom on the roster, and each is likely to remain there. Brattstrom ended last season on a positive note in Grand Rapids, while Olkinuora, who starred for gold medal-winning Finland in the 2022 Olympics, was signed by the Wings to provide organizational depth.

Cossa, 19, would get the majority of the starts in Toledo.

General manager Steve Yzerman talked before training camp on the importance of Cossa getting ample playing time, wherever Cossa would play this season.

“I want him playing regularly and I want him playing at a level that he is challenged but can be successful,” Yzerman said. “It’s tough playing as a (young) defenseman. Goaltending is a whole other level, specifically for these young players. As a forward, you rely on your teammates when things aren’t going well. The defensemen are relying on their teammates. Who does the goalie got to back him up?

“So, I’m very cautious with that. I just want him playing at whatever level he is getting ice time, is challenged, and doing well.”

Cossa was also ready for whatever challenge was ahead of him.

“Going into this season I want to play at the highest level of hockey I can,” Cossa said. “My game is going to do the speaking for me. Management obviously has that say, where I’m going to be playing. I want to play at the highest level of hockey I can and compete at that level.”

Twitter: @tkulfan

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