September 30, 2005
DETROIT (AP) -- With just a couple days left before the start of the NHL's regular season, Matt Stajan and Carlo Colaiacovo each helped their case to start it with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Colaiacovo scored the game-winner and Stajan added a short-handed goal to help lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 pre-season win over the Detroit Red Wings.
"Our young guys played very well,'' Leafs coach Pat Quinn said of the group of players fighting for spots on the team.
Toronto is expected to make its final cuts on Sunday and unveil a lineup that includes as many as five young players. The 21-year-old Stajan, who has already played one NHL season, and 22-year-old Colaiacovo are both expected to start the season with the big club.
Mats Sundin and Jeff O'Neill also had goals on Friday for Toronto (3-4-0), which opens the regular season next Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators. Ed Belfour made 35 saves in goal for the Maple Leafs.
Brendan Shanahan and Mathieu Schneider scored power-play goals for Detroit, while Kirk Maltby also scored for the Red Wings (4-3-1). Robert Lang added two assists for Detroit and Manny Legace stopped 25 shots.
The Leafs and Wings will finish their pre-season schedules with a meeting Saturday at Air Canada Centre. The Original Six rivals won't face each other at all during the regular season because of changes to the NHL's schedule.
It's been an up-and-down training camp for the Maple Leafs, but Quinn said Friday's game showed him that Toronto could be a force during the regular season.
"I know we can be a good team,'' he said. "It's going to take us a little time.
"We had really good jump tonight.''