Late Goal Gives Red Wings a Win Over Toronto

The Hockey Writers

After having travel troubles getting to Toronto for their matchup against the Maple Leafs, the Detroit Red Wings played a tightly contested game with one of the league’s best offenses and pulled out a 4-2 victory thanks to a last-minute goal from Andrew Copp. James Reimer looked solid in between the pipes in his first start since Dec. 27, 2023.

Copp Stays Hot

Overall this season, Andrew Copp has not looked like the player that Red Wings fans have hoped he would be after signing a long-term contract in 2022. He has struggled to get his offensive game going, but mixed in on a line with Michael Rasmussen and Christian Fischer, he has carved out a decent role as a bottom-six forward that adds depth to the Red Wings lineup.

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The line of Copp, Fischer, and Rasmussen looked rock solid last night for the Red Wings and got rewarded with the game-winning goal with just over a minute and a half left to play. The strong forecheck that the line showed throughout the game was on display once again and forced a turnover in the Maple Leafs zone and Copp found himself with the puck in the slot. A quick shot helped out by some traffic in front of Ilya Samsonov aided in the shot beating him to give the Red Wings a 3-2 lead. The goal pushed Copp’s goal streak to three games, marking the third time in his career that he has been able to do so.

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Andrew Copp Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If Copp can continue to produce the way he has over the last handful of games, it will add a welcomed depth of scoring to the lineup along with Daniel Sprong’s continued offensive play (another goal for Sprong last night).

Reimer Looks Solid

After not playing in a game since Dec. 27, many thought that Reimer would look rusty in the matchup against the Maple Leafs, but he looked solid for the Red Wings in the net. While allowing the two goals that were scored (one on a tipped shot and one on a defensive lapse), Reimer made several big-time stops to help keep the game in striking distance when the Red Wings fell early on in the second period.

Related: Red Wings’ Goaltending is Holding Them Back

While the Red Wings were on the penalty kill three times in the game, Reimer made big saves when called upon and helped keep the Maple Leafs’ lethal powerplay scoreless. The solid play from him ended up being both a pleasant surprise and a welcomed sign for a goalie who had struggled mightily after signing with the Red Wings this past offseason.

Penalty Kill Bounces Back, Powerplay Struggles

Speaking of the penalty kill, both units bounced back from a rough outing against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 13 when they allowed three powerplay goals in the game. Even though the Maple Leafs had sustained pressure in the offensive zone while on the man advantage, strong defensive positioning and goaltending from Reimer limited any real chances that they had on the Red Wings.

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On the opposite side of the coin, the Red Wings’ powerplay did not get themselves going against the Maple Leafs. On the two man-advantages that they did have, they seemed to struggle to get the puck into the offensive zone and even when they did, they were unable to get anything going. They struggled to settle the play down and set anything up offensively and when they did, the Maple Leafs penalty kill was strong in getting blocked shots and limiting the Red Wings’ chances.

Alex DeBrincat has struggled as of late on the powerplay and this game seemed to be no different. Throughout the powerplay, he had a couple of scoring chances but he was unable to get anything off shot-wise and seemed to be out of sorts. On top of the struggles on the powerplay, they ended up being without the newest Red Wing, Patrick Kane after he left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Game Notes

  • The Red Wings announced that forward Klim Kostin had been activated off the injured reserve and the hope is that he returns soon.
  • Dylan Larkin’s strong play over the last handful of games continued against the Maple Leafs, scoring a goal and having an assist on the empty-net goal that Lucas Raymond scored. One of the biggest plays he made in the game came on the defensive zone face-off that he won to help lead to the aforementioned empty-net goal.
  • Kane’s lower-body injury is said to have not been related to his surgically repaired hip.
  • The Red Wings have gone 5-0-1 since the calendar has turned over to 2024.

What’s Next for the Red Wings

The Red Wings travel to the Sunshine State for a matchup against last season’s Eastern Conference champs, the Florida Panthers on Jan. 17 before heading to Carolina on Jan. 19.

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