TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-4 pre-season win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night was just what they needed.
After losing to Phoenix, Ottawa and Buffalo on home ice, another defeat in their final home exhibition game would have thrown Leafs fans into a tizzy awaiting the regular-season opener at home Wednesday against Ottawa.
"That was big going into the weekend and hopefully we can get another one before we play Ottawa," said defenceman Andy Wozniewski, who scored one of the Leafs' three power-play goals and was outstanding in his own end.
Toronto and Detroit wrap up the pre-season with a game in Detroit on Saturday.
Also scoring for the Leafs were Jason Blake, Darcy Tucker, Boyd Devereaux, Ian White and Chad Kilger, who got his team-high fourth.
"It's only pre-season but it's nice to contribute," said the veteran forward. "I'm making some better plays this year and capitalizing.
"I just hope it continues. It'd be nice to carry it over. Hopefully, I can do that."
Kris Draper scored twice and Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk once each for Detroit, which didn't use seven regulars.
It was Toronto's first win on home ice since last April 7. It seemed like forever.
"It was a wakeup call, no doubt about it," said Kilger. "There wasn't a big panic button pressed or anything.
"We just realized we had to play better and had to bear down defensively and limit the other team's chances. We skated better, and if we're skating and finishing checks our game is going to fall into place."
It was a welcome win for goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who was No. 1 last season but might find himself sitting on the end of the bench as a backup to Vesa Toskala against the Senators in five days.
"It was good for all of us to hang in there," said Raycroft. "It's a good building block."
Kronwall scored with a slap shot on Detroit's first shot 42 seconds in. The 26-year-old Swede was on the same ice on this night as his kid brother Staffan, who is trying to win a job with the Leafs.
Blake hammered in a cross-ice Mats Sundin pass on a power play to tie it at 5:28.
Seven goals were scored in the second period.
Sundin set up Tucker the same way he set up Blake for another power-play goal at the 39-second mark.
Toronto took its first lead after John Pohl stripped Datsyuk of the puck in the neutral zone. Pohl passed to Kilger, who faked a shot to draw goalie Jimmy Howard towards him and slid the puck to Devereaux for a tap-in into the vacated net at 2:38.
Draper got behind Tomas Kaberle to score at 2:58, Datsyuk replied by reaching into the crease to push in a free puck behind Raycroft on a power play at 3:22, White dashed out of the penalty box to get a long clearing lob by Staffan Kronvall and slip a breakaway shot through Howard's legs at 11:18, and Draper redirected in a Dallas Drake pass at 11:59.
Wozniewski scored the winner with a slap shot on a power play at 16:43 while Nik Antropov was falling into Howard after being pushed.
Kilger got the only goal of the third period when he beat Howard with a long shot at 17:27.
For a change, the Leafs were able to protect a lead.
"We stuck in there and won the game," said Sundin. "For some reason we make it harder on ourselves than it should be."
Tucker was happy with the effort.
"That's one thing about teams, you have to learn to bend and not break," he said.
Notes: On power plays, Detroit was 1-for-5 and Toronto was 3-for-9 . . . The pre-season records now stand at 5-3-0 for the Red Wings and 3-2-2 for the Leafs . . . While D Bryan McCabe was the only big-name Leaf not to dress, Detroit sat out G Dom Hasek, D Nick Lidstrom, D Chris Chelios, D Brian Rafalski, F Dan Cleary, F Tomas Kopecky and F Kirk Maltby . . . Injured Leafs: C Kyle Wellwood had abdominal surgery last Saturday and D Carlo Colaiacovo continues to feel discomfort in his surgically-repaired knee . . . The only regular-season meeting Detroit and Toronto will be Feb. 9 in Toronto . . . Niklas Kronwall is one of only eight players to win Olympic and world championship gold in the same year, in his case 2006.