Skip to main content
game recap

Maple Leafs create tie for second in Atlantic

Defeat Red Wings to gain in tight division race

by Dave Hogg / NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT-- The Toronto Maple Leafs are tied for second place in the Atlantic Division after a 5-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs (38-24-15) are tied with the Ottawa Senators, who lost 4-2 to the Winnipeg Jets, and one point ahead of the Boston Bruins, who defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 and have played one more game.

"Obviously, we're all watching the standings, but there's nothing to say until we clinch a spot," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "We haven't done that yet."

James van Riemsdyk broke a 3-3 tie with 2:26 left in the third period, and Auston Matthews made it 5-3 with his second goal of the game with 1:09 left. Toronto is 10-2-1 in its past 13 games.

 

WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings highlights

 

"This is the time of year when you have to give everything you've got and put yourself in the best possible position," van Riemsdyk said. "We're doing that, but we can't stop yet. This can still get away from us."

Video: TOR@DET: Matthews nets second, reaches new milestone

Mike Green scored with 45 seconds to go for Detroit (31-35-12), which is out of Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

"We gave them a couple easy chances, and you can't do that against a team with elite scorers," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We're leaning on a lot of young guys right now, and there were some coverage issues."

It was Toronto's final game at Joe Louis Arena and there were many Maple Leafs fans on hand.

"It was fun to hear 'Let's Go Red Wings!' and 'Go Leafs Go!' going back and forth like that all night," Toronto forward Mitchell Marner said.

Detroit defenseman Nick Jensen scored off his rebound to make it 3-2 at 16:42 of the second period, and Niklas Kronwall tied it 3-3 at 14:41 of the third with his second goal of the season.

Video: TOR@DET: Jensen grabs own rebound, nets a backhander

Gustav Nyquist gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead at 14:50 of the first period, taking a pass from Frans Nielsen and beating Frederik Andersen with a wrist shot.

Matthews tied it 1-1 at 2:56 of the second period, putting a wrist shot over Jimmy Howard's right shoulder for a power-play goal.

"I thought I saw some space, and I think he was looking for a pass, so I let it go," he said.

Matthews leads NHL rookies with 38 goals and tied the NHL record for goals by a United States-born rookie, set by Neal Broten of the Minnesota North Stars in 1981-82.

Video: TOR@DET: van Riemsdyk buries loose puck for late lead

Toronto took a 2-1 lead when Connor Carrick's pass from his goal line sent Marner on a breakaway. He put the puck over Howard at 13:53. Nylander made it 3-1 at 15:08 with a wrist shot over Howard's stick.

Andersen made 38 saves.

 
Goal of the game

Matthews took a pass from Leo Komarov in stride before twisting and beating Howard high on the short side.

"I didn't think he had anything to shoot at," Howard said.

Video: TOR@DET: Matthews uses quick hands to bury PPG

 
Save of the game

Midway through the second period, Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan had the puck at the edge of the crease with an open net in front of him. Andersen lunged to make a stick save, robbing Sheahan of his first goal of the season in his 76th game.

 

Highlight of the game

The Red Wings lost focus momentarily when an icing call was waved off in the second period, and Carrick took advantage. He got the puck deep in the Toronto end and passed onto Marner's stick at the far blue line.

Video: TOR@DET: Marner finishes Carrick's terrific lead pass

 
They said it

"I came to a playoff game here last year and the building was just like it was tonight." -- Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews

 

"It was no secret that we wanted to beat those guys in their last trip here. It was a lot of fun, but we didn't give our fans the result they deserved." -- Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist

 
Need to know

Toronto leads the Tampa Bay Lightning by five points for the second Eastern wild card. ... Matthews, Marner and Nylander scored in the same game for the second time this season (Feb. 6 in a 6-5 overtime loss to the New York Islanders). "Those three have been difference-makers their entire lives, so they don't know any other way to play," Babcock said. ... Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, playing his 996th NHL game, had two assists to give him 50 this season. He is on pace to play his 1,000th game against the New Jersey Devils on April 9, the last game at Joe Louis Arena. ... Detroit forward Andreas Athanasiou finished the game with a facemask after being cut in the second period.

 
What's next

Maple Leafs: At the Buffalo Sabres on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, SN, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Red Wings: Host the Ottawa Senators on Monday (7 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS2, FS-D, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Matthews, Andersen lift Maple Leafs to 5-4 win

View More