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Maple Leafs top Red Wings for fourth straight win

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- Jonathan Bernier knew he had a tough act to follow.

Bernier made 27 saves to help the Toronto Maple Leafs win their fourth game in a row, a 4-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre on Saturday. He watched James Reimer make 41 saves in a 2-1 win against Detroit on Wednesday.

"I thought tonight was one of our best games of the year," Bernier said. "We competed hard. They are a tough team to play against. We knew they played last night (Detroit lost 3-2 to the Florida Panthers in a shootout), so we just wanted to keep the pace high and give it to them a little bit."

Detroit has lost three straight (0-2-1). The Red Wings won the first two games of the five-game season series, but the Maple Leafs rebounded to win the next three, including the convincing victory Saturday, when they outshot Detroit 41-28.

Toronto coach Randy Carlyle was not pleased with the Maple Leafs' effort in their win against the Red Wings on Wednesday, when he felt they were sloppy and got outworked. He was much happier following the game Saturday.

"It is a good sign when your team recognizes that there are things that need to be improved on if you are going to have success," Carlyle said. "The players have been saying the right things and now they have to live it. The important thing is we want to be honest with ourselves and be committed to growing our team. You don't grow unless you are willing to admit you have faults."

Bernier made a huge save at 11:37 of the first period on a shot by Darren Helm from the slot that appeared headed into the net. Lying on the ice, Bernier reached up to block the puck and keep the game scoreless.

"I had to make that save because I messed up," he said. "I tried to cover the puck, and the guy got his stick on it. I was kind of caught out of position, so I tried to make myself look big, and it worked out well. Every time you make a save like that you want to get the momentum on our side. It seemed that it worked tonight."

Bernier couldn't keep the game scoreless much longer.

With Toronto's James van Riemsdyk off for holding, Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall opened the scoring with 4:33 left in the first. Kronwall's fifth goal came on a high slap shot from the blue line that Bernier could not see thanks to a well-timed screen by Helm.

A minute later, van Riemsdyk scored his 12th goal with the Red Wings' Joakim Andersson in the penalty box for tripping. The left wing made a drop pass in the Red Wings zone before heading for the front of the net. Toronto right wing Phil Kessel drilled a snap shot at the goal that bounced off van Riemsdyk's leg and past Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek.

Each team had 12 shots in the first period.

Richard Panik gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead with 2:10 left in the second period when he was sent in alone by defenseman Korbinian Holzer and slipped a backhand shot through Mrazek's legs for his sixth goal.

Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly made it 3-1 at 1:42 of the third period when he broke into the Detroit zone on the left side and snapped a shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the far side of the net. It was his fourth goal.

The Red Wings pulled Mrazek with 4:15 remaining for an extra skater, but the move backfired when Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri scored his eighth goal into the empty net to make it 4-1.

Mrazek made 37 saves.

The Red Wings played Friday, when the Maple Leafs had the night off, but Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg did not use the schedule as an excuse for the loss.

"I think we came out pretty good in the first, and then they took over in the second period," Zetterberg said. "They were a little stronger than us over the 60 minutes. Too many times when we had the puck under control, we lost it and it ended up in our net. We have to be more poised and take care of the puck a bit better."

Bernier said the Maple Leafs talked about how they had to play better against the Red Wings, and he was pleased with the results.

"We were always on top of them in the neutral zone," Bernier said. "That was our problem [Wednesday] when they got a few breakaways. Tonight we made the adjustment and executed well."

Detroit right wing Daniel Cleary played his 600th career game.

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