Detroit − The Red Wings finally have a victory to their credit against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It had been a while, nine consecutive losses and the Wings hadn’t defeated Toronto since Dec. 15, 2017, but the Wings did it Thursday in nailbiting fashion, 4-1.
Lucas Raymond and Robby Fabbri (power play) had early goals, Tyler Bertuzzi (empty net) and Moritz Seider (power play) scored in the final two minutes, while goaltender Ville Husso stopped 31 shots as the Wings (18-15-7) won their second consecutive game on this three-game homestand.
It was the second time in six days the Original Six rivals met, Toronto (26-10-7) winning 4-1 Saturday at Scotiabank Arena.
Rasmus Sandin had the lone Leafs goal, while goaltender Ilya Samsonov had 20 saves.
The Wings’ penalty kill, which has struggled in the last week or so, killed three Toronto power plays with the Wings clinging to a one-goal lead.
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 4, Maple Leafs 1
Toronto appeared to open the night’s scoring only 56 seconds into the game, but a review nixed Bobby McMann’s apparent goal.
McMann got to the puck after a Leafs faceoff victory, drove to the net, but kicked the puck directly at Olli Maatta’s skate, the puck then getting past Husso. The kicking motion nullified the goal.
Raymond got the Wings going at 8:48 of the first period.
Dylan Larkin made the play, intercepting a pass near the middle of the ice, then driving through the slot. Larkin left a little drop pass to Raymond near the hashmarks, and Raymond whistled his 12th goal against Samsonov.
The Wings had a power play late in the period, but couldn’t convert.
Toronto put itself into further, deeper, penalty trouble early in the second period and the Wings did take advantage this time.
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The Wings failed to capitalize on a 39-second, two-man advantage, but Fabbri made it 2-0 with the power play winding down.
Jonatan Berggren had the puck on the flank, froze Samsonov, then looked off and dished to a wide open Fabbri in the slot. Fabbri snapped his third goal in four games since returning to the lineup from knee surgery, giving the Wings a two-goal lead at 3:49.
But the Leafs regained some momentum with Sandin’s goal.
Sandin ran a give-and-go with John Tavares, skated down the wing, and snapped a shot that deflected off Larkin’s stick and past Husso for Sandin’s third goal, at 6:18.
Toronto had a power play less than a minute later on Filip Hronek’s holding call, but couldn’t get anything past Husso.
Thursday’s victory was a relief of sorts after a strange victory two nights earlier against Winnipeg.
The Wings were coming off a game against Winnipeg in which they won, but in many ways didn’t like they played well at all.
It was a peculiar 48 hours for the Wings, who knew they’re capable of much better hockey.
“We will never apologize for two points in this league, how hard it is,” said coach Derek Lalonde of Tuesday’s victory. “Especially against a really good team that was on a five-game winning streak. We probably deserved better with those three previous losses.”
It was a good bounce back game for Husso, also, after a game he allowed five goals but actually preserved the Wings’ victory with some timely late saves.
“We don’t want to put those games on our goalies,” said Lalonde of the workload Tuesday on Husso. “That was a hard game on our goalie and he did great with it.”