The Detroit Red Wings played more to the defensive style they needed as they took on a formidable opponent.
After looking tired in their previous outing, the Wings played with the energy befitting a contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who made their second appearance of the season Thursday at Little Caesars Arena. They staved off pressure from the Leafs to win, 4-1, ending a nine-game losing streak against their Original Six rival.
The Wings caught the Leafs on the second night of a back-to-back and without the services of superstar Auston Matthews, who is dealing with an injury. Lucas Raymond provided an early lead and Robby Fabbri built on it with his third goal in four games. The Wings converted on a second-period power play, and denied the Leafs on all three of their man advantages. Ben Chiarot came through with an empty-net goal scored from his own zone with 1:53 to play, and Moritz Seider scored on another power play with 20 seconds to play. Ville Husso made eight saves during Leafs power plays, and 31 total.
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The Wings next play Saturday at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Four in a row
The Wings were first to score for a fourth straight game. It did take a video review to make it happen, through, as Toronto’s Bobby McMann put the puck in Detroit’s net in the opening minute before officials ruled McMann kicked the puck off the skate of Wings defenseman Olli Määttä. The Wings had several good-energy shifts, cycling the puck and creating chances. It was a masterful shift from Dylan Larkin that got them a lead, as he maneuvered the puck around defenders before dropping a pass that Raymond knocked behind Ilya Samsonov midway through the first period.
Power play looks
The Wigs didn’t get much momentum off a power play in the first period, and their best chance on their second one was a slap shot by Dominik Kubalik that was blocked by Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano. It helped when the Leafs were called for a third straight penalty, giving the Wings 39 seconds with two extra attackers. Moritz Seider hit a goal post and David Perron had a wrist shot denied by Samsonov. The Wings converted during 5-on-4 play, when Fabbri scored from the slot, with Jonatan Berggren and Kubalik drawing assists.
The cheering that broke out midway through the second period would usually reflect the home team scoring, but Leafs fan travel well — chants of “Go, Leafs, Go!” at times drowned out responding “Let’s go, Red Wings!” chants — and celebrated resoundingly when the Wings’ lead dropped to 2-1. It was an unfortunate bounce for the Wings: Rasmus Sandin fired a shot from the left side of the net that deflected in off Larkin’s stick, at 6:18. The Leafs got a power play less than a minute later, but were denied on three shots by Husso.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.
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Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.