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Reimer's 41 saves help Maple Leafs edge Red Wings

by Paul Harris

DETROIT -- James Reimer made his first start in almost a month count.

Reimer made 41 saves through 65 minutes and another two in the shootout to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.

In his previous game on Nov. 18, Reimer gave up six goals on 25 shots in relief of Jonathan Bernier. He hadn't started since Nov. 15, when he allowed six goals against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I wanted to just feel the puck and be in the right spots. Since I hadn't played in so long I wanted to play responsibly and be mentally sharp. [I] got a couple of good bounces," Reimer said. "I managed to get a couple of good bounces. I hadn't been getting a lot of them."

Maple Leafs forwards Mike Santorelli and Tyler Bozak scored in the shootout and Reimer denied Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar after Pavel Datsyuk scored in the first round.

Phil Kessel scored for Toronto in regulation for his first point against the Red Wings since the NHL Winter Classic last January.

The Maple Leafs are 7-1-1 in their past nine games.

"[Reimer] made big stops all night. He was dynamite," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "Even the goal he gave up in the shootout went in off the post and off the back of his skate."

Nyquist scored for Detroit and Jimmy Howard made 18 saves.

"I thought we played good. I didn't think we executed in the scoring area. The goalie was good but we had breakaways, we had opportunities and we didn't finish," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "But give him credit. That's what you're supposed to do as a goalie on a back-to-back night, find a way to steal a game for your team."

Nyquist helped Detroit get to the shootout by taking a puck off the goal line behind Howard during a goalmouth scramble with 1:35 left in overtime.

Reimer stopped Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was cutting down the middle in the slot and took a wrist shot, with nine seconds left in regulation.

"He played amazing," said Detroit center Riley Sheahan, who twice was beaten by Reimer after stickhandling past Toronto defensemen in the slot area on the rush. "I think we could have done a little better job of getting in front of his eyes and some of the shots from the point. But, yeah, he had a great game."

Reimer thought the Maple Leafs played well, despite the shot totals, one night after they defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1 in Toronto.

"I thought our team played great," he said. "That sounds weird if you look at the shots but they skated real hard and worked real hard."

Kessel tied the game 1-1 at 5:09 of the third period when he tipped a pass behind Howard from outside the crease. James van Riemsdyk's pass came from along the left-wing boards. It was Kessel's 15th goal.

Nyquist scored the game's first goal with 2:08 left in the second period. He put a turnaround backhand shot past Reimer from in front after taking a pass from Tomas Jurco, who was below the goal line.

Reimer had stopped Jurco's shot and the rebound came right back to Jurco. It was Nyquist's team-leading 13th goal.

Reimer stopped Tatar and Sheahan after he stickhandled past Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner earlier in the middle period.

The Red Wings killed off a 1:10 two-man disadvantage in the middle of the second. Detroit outshot Toronto 10-3 in the second period and 22-10 through the first 40 minutes.

Van Riemsdyk tipped in a pass from Tyler Bozak moments after the first period ended.

Reimer stopped Sheahan on a break-in after the latter had put the puck through the legs of Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly on his rush early in the first period. Reimer also saved Datsyuk's one-timer from outside the crease 8:33 into the game. Datsyuk shot high on a breakaway later in the first.

"I think any time you can get points on back-to-backs, you've got to take it and run, no matter how you won," Carlyle said.

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