Skip to main content


Maple Leafs-Red Wings Preview @NHL

Pavel Datsyuk may have regained his scoring touch.

The fifth-year center will try to continue breaking out of a season-long slump and score a goal for the third straight game Saturday when the Detroit Red Wings host the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs.

Datsyuk notched just his fifth goal of the season in Detroit's 4-3 overtime win over St. Louis on Thursday, and it was a big one.

Among the team leaders with 13 assists, Datsyuk scored with 3:23 left in the extra period to complete the Red Wings' comeback from three goals down. It was their second win over the Blues in as many games.

"I just closed my eyes again and shot," said Datsyuk, who has three points in his last two games. "And I heard the crowd."

Datsyuk had a team-high 87 points in 2005-06, and his 58 goals over the previous two seasons led the Red Wings. However, he's gotten off to a slow start this season, including a 15-game drought without a goal before scoring in Tuesday's 5-1 win at St. Louis.

Datsyuk has never scored in four career games against the Maple Leafs, though he does have five assists.

The Red Wings (16-7-4) look to win their third straight and fifth in six games while playing just their third game against an Eastern Conference opponent.

Detroit has scored nine goals in its last two games, matching the total of its previous four games.

Leading scorer Nicklas Lidstrom got his seventh goal and Daniel Cleary scored his ninth to tie the game in the third period on Thursday.

"We scored five goals the last game against them," said Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek, who has won four straight starts. "So we believed we could score a few more this game."

The Red Wings played their first game Thursday without defenseman Danny Markov, who will be out for three weeks after breaking his hand Tuesday. Markov, signed as a free agent during the summer, has been paired with Lidstrom and is plus-13 this season.

Markov, who played the first four seasons of his NHL career with Toronto, has played more than 60 games twice in eight full seasons in the league.

Toronto (13-12-5) is looking to avoid a seventh consecutive loss. The Maple Leafs have recorded one point in their last six games and haven't won since beating Washington 7-1 on Nov. 24.

The Maple Leafs allowed Boston to score three third-period goals in a 3-1 road loss on Thursday. It was the third straight game Toronto has blown a third-period lead.

Jeff O'Neill scored his eighth goal of the season for Toronto's lone goal.

"When the losses add up like they have we've got to find a way to right the ship," Toronto defenseman Hal Gill said.

Scoring late might help turn things around for Toronto. The Maple Leafs have been outscored 18-2 in the third period during the six-game skid.

Darcy Tucker, the team leader with 17 goals, has scored once in his last six games.

"We have to compete harder," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "Every guy has to finish more checks, control rebounds and have more ownership of our situation.

Saturday is the first matchup between these Original Six rivals in three years. Toronto won 5-2 at home on Dec. 6, 2003.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.