Despite a great banner ceremony to kick off the season opener, the Detroit Red Wings were unable to take the lead in last night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was Detroit's fourth time losing the season opener after winning the Cup in the previous season (Detroit has 11 Cup wins). While the Leafs certainly played well (and better than anticipated), the Wings seemed complacent.
The team allowed 19 giveaways last night, which is quite uncharacteristic of the team. The team averaged only 8.3 giveaways per game last season and only once last year had more giveaways than last night with 20 in a win over LA. According to Bruce MacLeod, 14 players had at least one turnover. That's about 2/3 of the entire team! Shockingly, Andreas Lilja was not one of those 14 players (that could be news in itself).
As goaltender Chris Osgood pointed out, the ceremony shouldn't have played a role in their performance. A lot of the team has been there before including five who now have four Stanley Cup rings (Lidstrom, Holmstrom, McCarty, Draper, Maltby).
"That's separate from the game," he said. "It was only 15 minutes. It wasn't as long as (others) have been before. It was what we expected."
In fact, Osgood's turnover resulted in Toronto's first goal of the season. Ozzie essentially swept the puck right to Toronto defenseman Pavel Kubina who promptly put the puck in the net with 26 seconds remaining in the first period.
Less than five minutes into the second, Dominic Moore gave Toronto a two goal lead. Osgood had made the initial save, but Moore put in the rebound just under the crossbar. Tomas Holmstrom was able to finally get the Wings on the board just 1:24 later in a beautiful backhander in his normal spot in front of the crease.
Unfortunately, a turnover by Dan Cleary (he had two last night) resulted in a Toronto goal by Nikolai Kulemin. Homer came back and scored again for the Wings while on the power play, but the Wings were unable to tie it up before time ran out.
The Wings play the Ottawa Senators tomorrow at 7pm.