TORONTO – The Red Wings are looking for their second win of the season over the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. Detroit posted a 4-0 win over the Leafs, and former coach Mike Babcock, on opening night at Joe Louis Arena.
Scoring first has been paramount for the Red Wings who are 5-1-1 when they score first. Meanwhile, drawing first blood has escaped the Leafs, who have scored first just twice in 12 games.
The Atlantic Division rivals will meet two more times this season – March 13 in Detroit and April 2 at Air Canada Centre.
It was a sluggish start for the Red Wings, who spend most of the first 10 minutes trying to dig the puck out of their own end.
Fortunately, the Leafs didn’t apply an exuberant amount of pressure on Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, who was making his seventh start of the season.
The Red Wings took a 1-0 lead when Henrik Zetterberg scored his first goal in three games on a fluky play. The Wings’ captain fired a shot just inside the blue line that Toronto goalie James Reimer misplayed. As Reimer came out to cut the angle, the shot appeared to go off his blocker and rolled into the open net.
The goal was No. 300 of Zetterberg’s 13-season career. He is now the fifth player in franchise history to register 300 goals, 500 assists and 800 points. The others are Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov.
Pavel Datsyuk (ankle) is two goals short of joining the Red Wings’ elite group.
Rookie Landon Ferraro was injured early in the period. Shortly after he collided with Leafs defenseman Scott Harrington in the attacking zone, Ferraro left the game with a lower-body injury. He will not return tonight.
DETROIT 1, TORONTO 0
SCORING: 1. DET, Zetterberg (Larkin, Abdelkader), 16:41.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Smith (hooking), 18:29.
SHOTS: Detroit 9, Toronto 12.
The middle frame was more of what occurred in the first 20 minutes as the Wings spent much of the period in their own end.
Face-offs were a problem for Detroit, limiting puck possession and holding the Wings to three shots on goal in the period by Jakub Kindl, Joakim Andersson and Dylan Larkin.
Larkin provided a little spark with his undeniable speed midway through the period, but nothing that gave the Wings a real scoring chance.
Appearing in his 13th game this season, Larkin is the first 19-year-old to play in more than a dozen games with the Red Wings since Jiri Fischer did it in 1999-2000. Jiri Hudler is the last Red Wing to appear in 12 games as a 19-year-old rookie. He did so in 2003-04.
Once again, Mrazek was stellar, coming up with a couple big saves late in the period, stopping Brad Boyes’ one-timer from the right face-off dot, followed by Nick Spaling in close.
DETROIT 1, TORONTO 0
PENALTIES: 1. DET, Ericsson (high-sticking), 0:16; 2. DET, Nyquist (holding), 15:33.
SHOTS: Detroit 3 (12), Toronto 8 (20).
The Red Wings’ play power got its first opportunity early in the first, six-seconds into the frame to be exact.
But it was the Maple Leafs that had the first good scoring chance when former Wings’ draft pick Shawm Mattias moved and alone but whistled a shot wide of the net.
Moments later, Mrazek thwarted Joffrey Lupul, who didn’t get a good shot off from in close.
The Red Wings committed their fourth penalty of the night, the third drawn by Nazem Kadri, when Alexey Marchenko went to the box for tripping at 15:53. Fortunately for the Wings, the Leafs’ power play lacked any sustained pressure, and didn’t get a shot through to Mrazek.
However, the Leafs took advantage of an unlucky situation for the Wings when Marchenko couldn’t clear the zone after his stick broke while battling Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau along the boards near the blue line.
The Leafs managed to get the puck deep where Dion Phaneuf scored from a scramble, flipping the puck off the butt end of Mrazek’s stick handle.
DETROIT 1, TORONTO 1
SCORING: 1. TOR, Phaneuf (Bozak, Parenteau), 18:58.
PENALTIES: 1. TOR, Spaling (high-sticking), 0:06; 2. TOR, Bozak (high-sticking), 5:04; 3. TOR, Winnick (high-sticking), 13:02; 4. DET, Marchenko (tripping), 15:53.
SHOTS: Detroit 9 (21), Toronto 13 (33)
Gustav Nyquist had a shot to end the overtime, but Reimer, who appeared down and out of the play, managed to get back to his feet to stop Nyquist’s wrap-around chance.
Moments later, Jakub Kindl, who led the Red Wings with four shots on goal, scored the game winner as he joined the rush and snapped a shot into the top of the net behind Reimer.
DETROIT 2, TORONTO 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Kindl (Pulkkinen, Tatar), 2:17
SHOTS: Detroit 3 (24), Toronto 0 (33)