On "Hall of Fame night" in Toronto, in which Brett Hull, Luc Robataille, and Steve Yzerman stepped onto the ice to be acknowledged, not much was Hall of Fame worthy from the Detroit end of things.
Phil Kessel had a big game for the Maple Leafs with a goal and an assist while goalie Jonas Gustavsson stopped 35 of 36 shots for his second consecutive win. Chris Osgood gave up five goals on 28 shots as Detroit's three game win streak came to a close and Toronto won only their third game of the year.
Toronto's Wayne Primeau opened the scoring at 10:34 on a shot from the faceoff circle to the left of Chris Osgood. Primeau gained the zone following a failed pinch by Jonathan Ericsson and Kris Draper lost his edge to give Primeau a two-on-one against Brett Lebda. Colton Orr and Jeff Finger were credited with the assists on Primeau's goal, his first of the season. Phil Kessel added a goal with 26 seconds left to play in the first period to increase the Maple Leafs lead to 2-0. Ian White fired on net from the blue line and Jason Blake's rebound shot had originally beat Chris Osgood before Kessel tapped it in for insurance. Swedish goalie phenom Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson stopped all 13 of the Detroit shots in the first period with several great saves on quality chances.
Jeff Finger put a shot over Chris Osgood's shoulder on a 3-on-2 for a 3-0 Toronto lead 5:21 into the 2nd period. Finger, the trail man on the break out, received a pass from Lee Stempniak and was able to score his first goal of the year. The Wings were caught in a line change at the tail end of their power play and it resulted in the odd-man rush and a goal for Toronto. As if the 3-0 Toronto lead wasn't enough to deal with for Detroit, Jason Williams fell behind the Toronto net and left the game with an injury to his right leg. Early reports indicate a broken right leg.
Detroit finally got on the board in the third period. Although they didn't score on a five-on-three power play chance, they had several great opportunities. Soon after the power play ended, Dan Cleary received a pass from Brian Rafalski as both teams were changing and had only Gustavsson to beat. Cleary did just that as he scored his 100th career goal at 5:59 of the third, providing the only high point of the night for Detroit. The 3-1 Toronto lead quickly ballooned to 5-1 as John Mitchell deflected a Phil Kessel shot past Osgood at 9:22 and Alexei Ponikarovsky beat Osgood with a weak backhand at 12:44. Gustavsson was solid all game and allowed kept the puck out his own net and allowed his teammates to get chances at the other end.
Detroit returns to action on Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
MrNorrisTrophy's Wing of the Game: No question about it, Dan Cleary. Cleary's goal was the lone high point in the game and a huge weight is off his shoulders after finally getting his 100th career goal. Goal 100 below.
#11 / Right Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Dec 18, 1978
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