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Maple Leafs Score 4, Blank Red Wings

Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Red Wings looked to get back in the Win Column Wednesday night against the #ActuallyGood Maple Leafs. With just a 1-0-3 record to show for their last 4 games, the time is now for the Wings to start putting up points in the standings. I have a feeling they’re going to need a lot more help than the “loser point” will provide for them as we draw closer to the end of the season. The goal tonight was simple: Win, and win in regulation.

1st Period

This one started with an awfully loud “Go Leafs Go” chant that was quickly matched with a rendition of “Let’s Go Red Wings” - lots of energy in The Joe at the opening puck drop. The boys seemed to be in better shape compared to the previous game against Boston, we actually registered our first shot on goal within the first three minutes this time!

Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan both had near-misses early on but weren’t able to find twine. Soon after, the Auston Matthews line had their way with a tired Anthanasiou-Sheahan-Mantha unit and Matthews managed to bury a backhander top shelf after a long offensive zone possession.

That Auston Matthews is pretty darn good. What a statement shift just 5 minutes into this one. I’m pretty sure he had three or four prime scoring chances on that shift alone. 1-0 Leafs.

There was a little bit of back-and-forth from that point on, although Toronto seemed like the more dangerous team. With about 7 minutes left William Nylander tripped up Jonathan Ericsson at the Wings’ blueline and we went to the powerplay.

Babs was not pleased with the call.

Our last place powerplay performed just as you’d expect against the Leafs’ 4th ranked penalty kill. Very few chances, lots of time spent just getting the puck back into the zone and nothing to show for it anyway.

That was me yelling at my TV, greetings from Almont!

The Wings had some other nice chances but struggled to actually get their shots on goal. Anthony Mantha came tearing down the left side of the ice and hit the post with just over 3 minutes to go. There’s a guy who could really use a goal right now.

Justin Abdelkader tackled Mitch Marner as he went in to retrieve a juicy rebound Petr Mrazek gave up with 11 seconds left in the period. Fortunately Toronto didn’t take advantage of the short powerplay, although Matthews had a wide open net that he failed to take advantage of.

That’s how we stood after one!

Leafs up 1-0.

Shots (on goal):

DET: 16 (6)

TOR: 15 (7)

2nd Period

The Leafs started the second with 1:49 still left on their powerplay. Athanasiou and Nielsen had a bit of a 2-on-1 but a fantastic backcheck and diving play from Nazem Kadri prevented the Wings from getting a shot on goal.

Shortly thereafter Auston Matthews had another prime scoring chance right in front of the net but Petr Mrazek stood tall in net. The Wings tried to set up Tomas Tatar on a few backdoor plays on the ensuing possession but weren’t able to register a shot on goal. Mantha nearly found himself on a breakaway but came into the zone just a bit offsides. He’s bound to catch a break sooner or later.

The Wings got their second chance on the powerplay after Martin Marincin was sent off for interference with a little under 14 minutes left in the period. Tatar was basically mugged away from the play and Nyquist was tripped up by another Leaf, but I guess they only wanted to call one penalty on the sequence.

Again, the Wings failed to get anything going on the powerplay. There were quite a few sloppy passes in the neutral zone which very well could have resulted in a breakaway or odd-man rush the other way. Still a 1-0 game with 12 minutes left in the period.

Matthews and Hyman nearly connected for a tick-tack-toe play but Petr Mrazek tracked the puck the whole way. Tomas Jurco and Xavier Ouellet also had a few nice chances at the other end of the ice but Frederick Andersen kept the Leafs up by one. Riley Sheahan had the puck right in front of the net and did his best to jam away at it but wasn’t able to find his first of the year. He’s definitely playing like he wants to get that monkey off his back tonight.

Nick Jensen was shaken up on a hit from Matt Martin, it looked as though Martin’s knee collided with the outside of Jensen’s.

Jensen hobbled to the bench and went to the dressing room although he did return later on in the game.

With just over 4 minutes left in the period the Leafs turned up the pressure and nearly scored after having the puck right on the goal line. They cycled it back up to the point where Polak let one go that deflected off Jonathan Ericsson’s leg and into the Red Wing net. 2-0 Leafs.

Just an unlucky goal to give up, especially because the puck was going wide before it hit Ericsson in front.

With 2 minutes left in the period a Mike Green shot from the point deflected off Thomas Vanek and towards the net. Andersen made the initial save but couldn’t locate the puck and both teams crowded the crease. Somehow the puck stayed out on one of the better chances the Wings generated up to that point in the game. Nyquist had a superb chance in front with about a minute left but he failed to elevate the puck and seemed to take a stick to the eye.

No call on the play, no goal either.

That’s where we stood at the buzzer, 2-0 Leafs.

Shots (on goal):

DET: 31 (14)

TOR: 33 (19)

3rd Period

A strong opening shift from Detroit nearly got them a goal, Justin Abdelkader got everything he wanted on a slapshot and more which really stung Andersen on the save. Vanek and Athanasiou started making some magic of their own in front of the net but Andersen was up to the task each time, AA got two shots on net that could’ve easily gone in.

Unfortunately the strong start was all for naught after James van Riemsdyk’s shot from a bad angle deflected off Mrazek, the post and into the net. 3-0 Leafs.

Figures. To make matters worse, Mantha’s stick caught Hyman up high on the next possession which put the Leafs’ 2nd ranked powerplay back on the ice.

The Wings killed off the penalty and kept this game somewhat within reach, although they only had 13 minutes to score 3 goals on a very good and well-coached Leafs team.

Just kidding. Make that 11:45 to score 4 goals. Nikita Soshnikov came roaring down his off-wing and ripped a wrister that found its way under Mrazek’s arm and into the back of the net. 4-0 Leafs.

Oh well. The stretch of overtime games was bound to catch up to the Wings. I guess we’re back to being bad.

Darren Helm had a breakaway with just under 8 minutes to go in the third but never actually got a shot on goal, he just sort of ran into Andersen awkwardly. Fox Sports said he tried to make a deke and slide it under Andersen’s pad, although I think the use of the word “deke” is pretty charitable there. Helm didn’t do much to fool Andersen.

Soon after Athanasiou had another couple of shots from the low slot that Andersen had to fight off. Toronto’s definitely started to play a little more conservatively after going ahead by 4 in this one. The last few minutes of the game reflected this, Toronto started to drain the clock and the Wings were unable to break Andersen’s shutout. The game devolved into a whole lot of nothing.

That’s how this one ended. The Wings drop their fourth straight, 4-0.

Final shots (on goal):

DET: 46 (22)

TOR: 45 (28)