Detroit Red Wings game score vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Time and TV for Original Six matchup

Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Red Wings (17-15-7) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (26-9-7)

When: 7 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

TV: ESPN.

Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1; Red Wings radio affiliates).

• Box score 

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Game notes: Just two nights after giving up five goals — and a lot more solid scoring chances — to the Winnipeg Jets, the Wings will face a tougher challenge in the Leafs’ scorers, who entered Wednesday ranked seventh at 3.44 goals per game. Then again, perhaps the Wings are catching the Leafs at just the right time, with Toronto visiting Nashville on Wednesday night.

The Leafs were without reigning league MVP Auston Matthews on Wednesday, as he sat out with an undisclosed injury. “I would say he is just day to day,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters Wednesday. “He’s out there putting in lots of work and all that, so he’s clearly not too far away. So he’s improving daily, we’ll see where he’s at for tomorrow.”

Matthews has 20 goals through 41 games — tied for 19th this season — which is well off the pace that saw him score 60 in 73 games last season (0.82 goals per game) and 41 in 52 games in 2020-21 (0.79 goals per game).

Picking up the slack for Matthews has been Mitch Marner who leads the Leafs with 50 points, including 16 goals and 34 assists (sixth in the NHL). The 25-year-old has had at least a point in every game of 2023, including the Leafs’ 2-1 win over the Predators on Wednesday, and has gone without a point in just five games all season. None of those were against the Red Wings, though; he had a goal in the Leafs’ 4-2 win in November, and then put up a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 4-1 win in Toronto.

The Wings, meanwhile, snapped out of a scoring slump in the new year; they’d scored just four times in three games combined before potting seven against the Jets on Tuesday. All seven goals were scored by different Wings, but defenseman Moritz Seider had an assist on four of them. It was the first four-assist game by a Wings defenseman since Mike Green did it Oct. 5, 2017, and just the fourth time this century. (Nicklas Lidstrom did it in 2007 and Niklas Kronwall did it in 2007.)

After tonight’s tilt, the Wings wrap up their homestand with a visit from the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Leafs, meanwhile, stay on the road for a showdown with the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins, also at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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