Goalie - DET
GAA: 2.84 | Sv%: .905
– Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill has been pleased with the play of veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard
of late, which is why Howard is starting back-to-back nights.
"He’s done a good job," Blashill said when the Wings arrived at Air Canada Centre for Saturday's game. "He did a good job last night, stopped the pucks he was supposed to stop, made a big save when he needed to make a big save. That’s what we’ve asked of him and that’s what he did."
Howard worked off-ice while Petr Mrazek participated in the optional morning skate.
Blashill already knew that the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Ottawa Senators, 3-2, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders, 5-0.
"I think everybody's aware of it, we live in an age where you're aware what's going on," Blashill said. "But our biggest thing is we got to win our own hockey games for it to matter. If we don't win, we won't get in so we've got to win hockey games, we know we've got to win hockey games and certainly tonight, just like last night, just like the one after that, we've got to win hockey games."
Although the Toronto Maple Leafs are a young team missing a few players because of injury and are not pushing for the playoffs, the Wings know that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous.
"We know Toronto is going to play good," Blashill said. "We know they’re going to play extremely hard and they’ve got talented players although some are young and inexperienced, still very, very talented. We know they’re going to play with great structure and they play real hard so it will be a great challenge for us tonight."
Part of the challenge is fighting through any fatigue from playing the night before.
But the Wings did some good things, especially defensively, that they want to continue to do.
"I think that's important, box out early," said Dylan Larkin, who skated Saturday morning. "It'll be tough against a Toronto team, they have a lot of speed and big guys that get to those areas. I think the better we manage both net fronts, the more successful we'll be."
The Maple Leafs were the aggressors early, hitting Howard with four shots to the Wings' one in the early going.
That all changed when Jake Gardiner was called for tripping Gustav Nyquist at 7:33.
At 8:48, Brad Richards' shot from the left circle beat Sparks. Mike Green and Pavel Datsyuk, playing in his 950th career NHL game, assisted.
It marked eight straight games with a power-play goal for the Wings, extending a season high.
Justin Abdelkader had an excellent opportunity to make it 2-0 at 12:06 when the net was open but Sparks moved over in time to make the stop.
The Wings made it 2-0 with 2:41 left in the period.
Green's shot from just below the right circle beat Sparks, Green's seventh of the season.
Jonathan Ericsson and Luke Glendening assisted.
RED WINGS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 0
SCORING: 1. DET, PPG, Brad Richards (10), Mike Green, Pavel Datsyuk, 8:48. 2. DET, Mike Green (7), Jonathan Ericsson, Luke Glendening, 17:19.
PENALTIES: 1. TOR, minor, Jake Gardiner, tripping, 7:33.
SHOTS: Detroit 12, Toronto 8.
The Maple Leafs came out strong in the second, getting the first three shots on goal, before Andreas Athanasiou had one on Sparks at 1:54.
The Maple Leafs broke through at 2:44 when Colin Greening was in front to clean up a rebound. William Nylander and Morgan Rielly assisted.
Nazem Kadri got rough with Glendening at 7:23 and Glendening had to go to the dressing room with trainer Piet Van Zant.
Less than a minute later, Green was called for hooking.
Glendening was fine and able to return for the penalty kill.
Alexey Marchenko saved a goal when he cleared a rebound away at 10:13.
At 12:24, Ericsson was called for holding and the Leafs had another power play.
Kadri had a good chance going to the net but Howard made the save.
The Wings had three shots on a late power play but could not convert.
RED WINGS 2, MAPLE LEAFS 1
SCORING: 1. TOR, Colin Greening (4), William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, 2:44.
PENALTIES: 1. TOR, minor, Nazem Kadri, cross-checking, 7:23. 2. DET, minor, Mike Green, hooking, 8:21. 3. DET, minor, Jonathan Ericsson, holding, 12:24. 4. TOR, minor, T.J. Brennan, tripping, 17:33.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (22), Toronto 13 (21).
The Leafs came out shooting again but if was the Wings who managed to score in the early part of the period.
Defenseman Kyle Quincey's shot beat Sparks at 3:59.
Helm and Richards picked up the assists.
It's Quincey's first goal since Feb. 6 against the New York Islanders and first point since an assist Feb. 18 at the Pittsburgh Penguins, snapping a 26-game goal drought and 20-game point drought.
Nyquist went off for tripping at 12:24, giving the Leafs another chance to get closer, but the Wings killed it off.
The Leafs pulled Sparks and scored with 1:07 left in the game. Nylander from Kadri and Boyes.
RED WINGS 3, MAPLE LEAFS 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Kyle Quincey (3), Darren Helm, Brad Richards, 3:59.
PENALTIES: 1. TOR, minor, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, slashing, 6:21. 2, DET, minor, Jonathan Ericsson, cross-checking, 6:21.
SHOTS: Detroit 4 (26), Toronto 13 (34).