TORONTO - Penalties and turnovers turned to a cascade boos as the Toronto Maple Leafs turned in an uninspired performance against the Detroit Red Wings. One fan even threw his blue and white jersey on the ice in protest.
It was that kind of night as the Leafs never quite got in a rhythm and couldn't stop Henrik Zetterberg in a 4-1 loss to the Red Wings on Friday at Air Canada Centre.
Zetterberg exploited some shaky defence and assisted on all four Detroit goals, two by Johan Franzen, one each by Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader. The Red Wings' captain set up each of the first three and got the primary assists.
James Reimer wasn't at his best in allowing four goals on 35 shots. Mike Santorelli scored the Leafs' only goal.
After scoring his first two goals of the season, Franzen left the game late in the second with a lower-body injury and did not return.
The Leafs visit Detroit on Saturday night for the second half of this back-to-back. Jonathan Bernier is expected to start at Joe Louis Arena.
Though the pace was quick out of the gate, neither team had a shot on net for the game's first five-plus minutes. The Red Wings (2-1-1) came up empty on an early power play, too.
But Detroit got on the board with their third shot exactly midway through the first. Roman Polak gave the puck away to Zetterberg behind the net and he made a slick cross-crease pass to Franzen for his first of the season.
The Leafs (2-3-0) took two more penalties the remainder of the period, but Reimer and the PK units got the job done. Winger Brandon Kozun even cut the final kill short by drawing one of his own.
The Red Wings made it 2-0 at the 5:42 mark of the second thanks in part to a badly-timed change by Morgan Rielly that left defensive partner Jake Gardiner exposed. Zetterberg skated by Gardiner in front of the net and waited out Reimer until the goaltender went down and he found Franzen for his second of the night.
A few minutes later, the Leafs lost Kozun to a scary left leg injury. Checked by Kyle Quincey, Kozun's left leg hit awkwardly against the end boards, and he spent several minutes down on the ice before leaving with some help.
Kozun, the biggest surprise of training camp and one of the team's better penalty killers early in the season, put no weight on his left leg as he went down the tunnel.
The Red Wings padded their lead on another heads-up play by Zetterberg at 18:16 of the second. Zetterberg beat Polak to the puck after Jakub Kindl flipped it in and fed it to a streaking Nyquist, who shot it under Reimer's left pad to make it 3-0.
It was Nyquist's fourth goal in four games this season. He had 28 goals in 57 games last season in leading the Red Wings to the playoffs.
The crowd of 19,054 showered the Leafs with boos as they left the ice at the second intermission. Some of the biggest cheers of the night came during the intermission when an usher was shown on the video boards dancing to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."
Santorelli infused some more positive energy into the building 21 seconds into the third by ending Jimmy Howard's shutout bid. After taking a feed from linemate Leo Komarov, Santorelli scored his first goal with the Leafs on a back-hander short side.
The good vibrations didn't last long. With Cody Franson frozen in front, Nyquist found Abdelkader for his second of the second at the 5:51 mark of the third.
Frustrations piled up for the Leafs, including captain Dion Phaneuf, who tried more than once to fight but never got the chance. He took a roughing penalty in the third, minutes before a fan tossed his jersey over the glass and onto the ice.
Notes — This was the first of eight Friday night games for the Leafs this season and first of three at Air Canada Centre. In the past nine seasons dating to the 2004-05 lockout, Toronto hosted a total of three Friday night games. ... Several new Canadian citizens were sworn in at a ceremony at centre ice earlier in the day, and they helped anthem singer Doug Tranquada sing "O Canada." ... Howard finished with 23 saves on 24 shots.