October 1, 2005
TORONTO (CP) -- Coach Pat Quinn used the Toronto Maple Leafs' last pre-season game to try out forward combinations for the regular season and came away with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in the process Saturday night.
Jeff O'Neill, Mariusz Czerkawski, Andy Wozniewski and Nik Antropov scored for the Leafs, 4-4-0.
Pavel Datsyuk replied for the Red Wings, 4-4-1.
The line with six-foot-five captain Mats Sundin between the six-foot-six Antropov and the six-foot-four Alexei Ponikarovsky was formidable.
Jason Allison, playing only his second pre-season game because a sore hip kept him out of others, meshed effectively with Czerkawski and Darcy Tucker.
O'Neill looked lethal on a wing with youngsters Matt Stajan and Alexander Steen.
Eric Lindros, in an unfamiliar fourth-line role, had a strong game centring Tie Domi and Chad Kilger. In four exhibitions, Lindros didn't get a point.
Quinn might tinker before the Wednesday opener at home against Ottawa pending final roster decisions. Steve Thomas didn't play Saturday but was still in camp.
O'Neill scored on a power play at 15:48 of the first period. His shot caromed past goalie Jimmy Howard off the left skate blade of defenceman Chris Chelios.
O'Neill scored three goals in five pre-season appearances. The 29-year-old right-winger scored only 14 goals for Carolina in 2003-2004, and Quinn would love it if he could get back to the lush 30-goal territory he grazed the previous two seasons.
Czerkawski dashed down the right wing and lifted a backhand shot over a kneeling Howard's catching mitt at 7:41 of the second period.
It was Czerkawski's third goal in seven exhibitions. The 33-year-old Polish right-winger netted 25 for the New York Islanders in 2003-2004.
Datsyuk made it 2-1 at 17:25 of the second with a quick shot past Tellqvist, who'd been entertaining the announced Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,159 with acrobatic saves. Datsyuk, a late arrival at Detroit's camp, was having difficulty adjusting to the stricter officiating on obstruction. He took three penalties before scoring.
Howard stopped Sundin on a breakaway before the second break, but Wozniewski, battling for the last roster spot on the Toronto blue-line, made it 3-1 with a long shot at 1:47 of the third period.
The six-foot-four American, 25, was with the AHL farm team last season. He was a free agent when he signed with the Leafs in May 2004 after three years of college hockey at Wisconsin.
Antropov slid the puck into an open net after a slick setup by Sundin with Howard helpless with 4:01 remaining.
On power plays, Detroit was 0-for-7 and Toronto was 1-for-6.
Detroit outshot Toronto 30-29.
Notes: Detroit and Toronto do not meet during the regular season ... Besides Thomas, the Leafs didn't use defencemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Ken Klee (foot), and Ed Belfour, in the nets for a 4-3 win Friday in Detroit, sat out so backup Mikael Tellqvist could get in a game ... The Red Wings didn't dress Steve Yzerman (groin), Henrik Zetterberg, Nick Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider ... Tucker, Allison, O'Neill and Bryan McCabe were teammates on Canada's world-champion 1995 junior team ... Leafs TV has hired former NHL goaltender Greg Millen as senior reporter and game analyst, when he's not performing his Hockey Night In Canada duties.