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Red Wings Lose to Toronto 1-0 via Butt Goal

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wings headed into Sunday against the Leafs looking to build off of two wins and beat Mike Babcock. Detroit is in the heat of a playoff race and Babcock is currently playing a bunch of kids who will be good in seasons to come but shouldn't necessarily be there just yet. Both teams are on the back of a back-to-back set, so fatigue isn't an excuse for anybody here.

First Period

Things started ominously for the Wings, as William Nylander had the first scoring chance less than two minutes in that he shot between Mrazek and the net without putting it in. The Leafs continued to carry the first five minutes until Tatar got the first real Wings' chance stopped by Bernier and Kadri.

Things were decently back-and-forth through the middle part of the period, but definitely tilted in Toronto's favor. The Leafs got a Ben Smith goal by a Zetterberg/Larkin turnover, but it was overturned because he batted the puck in. Naturally the next scoring chance was Glendening, so no dice there. Later in the period, Datsyuk went down the tunnel after being tripped by Kadri and intentionally pancaked by Leo Komarov, who pretty consistently tries to hurt people (though it might have been Kadri's skate to the back of Datsyuk's knee which did it).

Mostly, the Wings got outplayed in the first, but Toronto let them off the hook.

Shots: 12-9 Leafs
Score: 0-0

Standout Players: Athanasiou, Nyquist
Tough Period: Ericsson, Zetterberg, Datsyuk

Second Period

Pavel Datsyuk didn't come out for the second period and it took 28 seconds for Justin Abdelkader to take an offensive-zone penalty for tripping Nazem Kadri. The Wings kill this and then get their own goal called off for batting it in. This time it was Glendening after a chance by Larkin.

Detroit got their first power play a few minutes later as Connor Carrick got into Dylan Larkin's way as he tried to get under a two-zone sky-dump pass. Since Jeff Blashill refused to pull the goalie and make it a 6-on-4 power play, you can guess how it ended (hint: poorly).

Not much doing for the next little while, but then Kyle Quincey takes down Kadri on a zone entry and the Wings go shorthanded again. The Wings kill this one thanks to a real good hit laid by Athanasiou and a really really good save by Petr Mrazek on a cross-ice feed.

In keeping with tradition of penalties, the next one went to the Leafs with a stick-hold by PA Parenteau on Marchenko in front of the Wings' net. This one created one really good scoring opportunity by Pulkkinen that Bernier stopped followed by a Michael Grabner breakaway that would have been a penalty shot had DeKeyser taking Grabner down not caused him to slide the puck into the net before it was dislodged. It was either going to be a penalty shot or a goal and the refs got the call right.

The Wings played better in the second than in the first, but the power play is still broken. The good news is that Datsyuk returned.

Shots: 20-19 Wings
Score: 1-0 Leafs

Standout Players: Nyquist, Larkin
Tough Period: Zetterberg, Sheahan, DeKeyser

Third Period

The third started off fairly choppy with a few Wings chances mixed in. Then it got even choppier. Holy shit this period was boring to start. at 13:11, Detroit got another power play on a fast zone entry by Tatar and Athanasiou which draws a hook. This power play gets two shots on goal, but can't finish it off. Datsyuk creates a good rush chance just after the kill, but Bernier gets down on the low shot.

The Wings pushed harder as crunch time started and it resulted in a handful of real bad gambles in some places and the failure to gamble in others as the Leafs patiently sat back looking for counter-attack opportunities, of which they got several.

Despite all the trying hard late, the Wings couldn't solve Bernier and lost 1-0.

Shots: 38-27 Wings
Score: 1-0 Leafs

Standout Players: Datsyuk, Tatar
Tough Period: Ericsson, Sheahan

Closing Thoughts

  • Fire up the hot take train filled with the steaming hot pile that assumes a "tough guy" scares Leo Komarov into not playing like an asshole instead of just creating a rat-for-rat system. Toot-toot!
  • Mike Babcock apparently said he wanted to take advantage of Detroit's defense as part of his gameplan for this. He should know as well as anybody about that, being the guy who helped mold it into what it is.
  • Speaking of which, now that Babcock is no longer with Detroit, can we start working on making sure he starts to own the well-earned reputation as the most-boring coach in the league as far as team system. He does a great job, but what he does is to choke the life out of hockey games. Wins are good, but this shit is every bit as bad for hockey as the Minnesota Wild.
  • A butt goal is a fitting way to lose 1-0 to the Leafs.

Player of the Game: Pavel Datsyuk

Next game is Tuesday in Philadelphia