The Red Wings went to Toronto 10 points outside of a Wild Card spot. Toronto is also making a playoff run, though they are admittedly in a better position than Detroit. This was a critical game for both teams.
Robbie Russo also made his debut with the Red Wings. He leads the AHL in +/- and the Griffins’ defencemen in points.
The Red Wings surrendered a goal early thanks to an unfortunate Helm giveaway. You may remember Toronto’s goal scorer...Alexey Marchenko. Blashill challenged the goal but the call on the ice stood and Detroit lost a time out.
The Wings didn’t wait long to head to the PK and give the number one power play in the NHL a shot. Kronwall took a penalty for holding and the Leafs scored almost immediately with a tic-tac-toe play in front of the net. Van Reimsdyk gets the goal and Marchenko picked up an assist.
Just a few minutes later Mike Green took a slashing penalty and sent the Leafs back to a power play. The Wings were able to kill this one off and keep the score at 2-0.
With under five minutes left in the period the Wings headed to a power play but had a difficult time generating sustained, high-quality offence. They had some good bursts of offensive power but they just couldn’t seem to keep it going consistently.
The Wings hang on and keep the the Leafs at 2-0.
Score: 2-0 TOR
Shots: 11-8 TOR
The Wings headed to a power play early in the second. It wasn’t a bad power play by any means and they spent time in Toronto’s zone, but again many of the same issues that have plagued them all season were present. They failed to get a shot on net, though Nielsen hit a post.
Toronto kept piling up the shots on Mrazek and cycling the puck in Detroit’s zone. About five minutes into the period, Kadri put Toronto up 3-0. It’s a long climb from here folks.
Halfway through the period the Wings got mixed up a scrum that saw Andersen come way out of his crease and get cranked by Jensen. Jensen was sent to the box for 2 minutes, though I think that Andersen was at least a bit responsible. Doesn’t matter, the Wings killed it off!
It took over 18 minutes, but the Wings were able to get one shot on goal this period. Sheahan got a good chance on net but was stopped by Andersen.
The Wings saved their best for last. With 38 seconds to go Nyquist got the Wings on the board! The Leafs stumbled to get the puck out of their zone and Matthews turned over the puck, DeKeyser was able to keep the puck in - a key play, and passed it to Zetterberg who dished it to Nyquist.
3-1 Leafs— Tracer (@OftenBlunders) March 8, 2017
Gustav Nyquist 8 (Assists: Henrik Zetterberg 38, Tomas Tatar 15) pic.twitter.com/k2G7X3YWXE
Score: 3-1 TOR
Shots: 21-15 TOR
Nyquist picked up right where he left off and scored 36 seconds into the third! 3-2 score and we have a hockey game! What a statement game by Nyquist coming off his 6 game suspension.
A few minutes later, it was Nyquist again wreaking havoc in front of Toronto’s net. He wants that hat trick.
The Wings kept the shots coming and were closing in on the gap between them and Toronto - not at easy feat when you consider how few SOGs they got in the second period.
Overall, a much better showing this period by the Wings and a stark contrast to the previous periods. They really woke up and started making smart plays, especially defensively.
Despite some great chances the Wings couldn’t score another. With time ticking away, Mrazek headed to the bench and the Wings got about a minute of play with a sixth player on the ice.
The Wings threw everything at Andersen but were unable to get another goal past him. It wasn’t for lack of trying, in fact, a bloodied up Zetterberg refused to leave the ice for the last shift.
Their play picked up significantly in the third period and they probably deserved a better fate, but they paid the price for their late start.
Score: 3-2 TOR
Shots 27-24 TOR