Jake Gardiner scored on a power play midway through the third period to pull Toronto within a goal.
The Maple Leafs appeared to tie the game less than two minutes later, but Nazem Kardri's goal was waved off because he made a kicking motion to knock the puck in with the inside of his right skate.
The Red Wings seemed to seal the win with 2:33 left when Daniel Alfredsson's wrist shot from the slot hit the back of the net.
Toronto, though, pulled its goaltender to add an extra skater seconds later and James van Riemsdyk scored with 1:13 left.
James Reimer stopped 28 shots for the Maple Leafs.
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