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Some Teams Won Tonight: Detroit 4-1

kicked off, kicked in, kicked out performance for the Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

The Red Wings welcome the Maple Leafs back into town for the third meeting against Toronto this season and the second in the last week. Wings winless so far, but Toronto is visiting after hosting Nashville last night.

Adam Erne draws back in for Pius Suter and Oesterle in for Lindström. Husso starting again. No Matthews for the Leafs If you didn’t see this one, at least you didn’t have to watch the ESPN feed.

First Period

The Leafs think they score in the first minute. Bobby McMann with his would-be first NHL goal off a broken faceoff in the Wings zone, but a war room review shows he kicked it to Olli Määttä’s skate and deflected in so it doesn’t count. I think that’s a dumb ruling, but it benefits my team so hahaha suck it.[

Detroit looks as though they’re very interested in not wasting the opportunity handed to them by a wake-up call that doesn’t count. Veleno feeds Sundqvist for a chance that goes like you expect to see with those two names.

The Wings keep good pressure up through the early portion of the period and it pays off at 8:48 as Larkin takes the center with speed and feeds it back to Lucas Raymond who takes advantage of the open space to snap it into the net. 1-0 Detroit.

Wings keep pressure on the follow-up as well. Walman just misses the cage after a fancy move to shake his coverage at the point. Jonatan Berggren barely misses a few minutes later. Filip Hronek makes a fantastic shot-block as Alex Kerfoot finds a puck all alone in the slot for a one-timer.

Toronto pushes back and gets a few good rush shots, but the Wings prevent them from setting up a meaningful cycle. The Wings get the first power play of the game as Dominik Kubalik is interfered with entering the Toronto zone. Wayne Simmonds with the penalty.

Toronto pressures aggressively and the first unit gets a tic-tac-toe chance that Tyler Bertuzzi just mistimes. The best chance for the 2nd unit is a Hronek slapper from distance. Simmonds exits the box.

The Score: 1-0 Detroi
The Shots: 9-8 Detroit
Observations: Aside from just the big block, Hronek’s positioning in the defensive zone this period was outstanding. Wings kept good pressure where needed and hounded puck-carriers coming back. This was as good as we’ve seen in terms of playing as a cohesive unit.

Second Period

Jonatan Berggren starts us off with some good forechecking and Robby Fabbri draws a penalty as Jordie Benn roughs him in the corner after the Leafs fail to clear. The top unit plays terrible, but the 2nd unit draws a second call with a good net-front push that almost gets us another goal. This one is Morgan Rielly for hooking Kubalik 39-seconds for the 2-man advantage.

Seider pings the post so hard the puck bounces out of the zone. Perron gets a good look shut down by Samsonov before the first penalty expires. We almost lose out on the second advantage, but Jonatan Berggren does some strong work to keep a puck and de-stick a PKer in the process before feeding to Kubalik, receiving the puck back and then handing it to Robby Fabbri in the slot for the blast. 2-0 Detroit.

Michael Rasmussen gets a contested break on the next shift and muscles off a one-handed shot that’s stopped. Immediately after that Ben Chiarot gets caught pinching again and the Leafs just miss on an aerial pass to the net-front.

6:18, the Leafs make it 2-1 as some offensive zone cycle time gifted by Tyler Bertuzzi falling down (again). Rasmus Sandin’s shot towards the traffic from a tight angle bounces over Ville Husso’s glove off Dylan Larkin’s stick.

Filip Hronek takes the inevitable penalty soon after by playing good defense against William Nylander, which is apparently illegal. It’s not a good call.

The Leafs get a number of dangerous looks that Husso gets in front of and the PKers help him clear out the rebounds. Overall it looks a lot more routine than it probably was considering where the shots were coming from and the traffic in front.

From here, the momentum is all Toronto while the Wings try to form back up. Forechecking pressure dissipates and this time it’s Leafs players effectively harrying puck carriers from behind in the neutral zone.

Immediately after I type this, the Wings get a gorgeous scoring chance off a Leafs icing that Adam Erne can’t finish into a gaping net. This does help the Wings regain some composure though.

Just about two minutes to go Michael Bunting takes the most-egregious dive I’ve seen in hockey for a long time. I’m going to be mad about this until Bunting is at least 85 years old (so not that long).

The Score: 2-1 Detroit
The Shots: 16-15 Leafs
Observations: Detroit’s push-back after the Leafs found their stride and started taking it to them was impressive. I was hoping they could survive the period at that point but ended up positive on Detroit’s response.

Third Period

Detroit starts with strong possession in the period with Berggren and Seider playing the stars of the first 50 seconds. The top line follows up with a big save by Samsonov to deny Tyler Bertuzzi in front. Toronto gets a net-front chance too, but Chiarot plants Bunting on his ass and all that comes from that is old man gum-flapping from the oldest crybaby in the world.

nearly five minutes in, Tyler Bertuzzi steals a puck in the corner and tries to do a cheeky between-the-legs goal that Samsonov doesn’t bite on. Then Jake Walman sits for a trip on Pontus Holmberg losing an edge. The speed at which the Toronto player hits the boards decides this is a penalty.

Some great PK work by Andrew Copp (and everbody else) limits the Leafs’ chances and Walman walks willingly from the box.

Holmberg draws another penalty midway through the period as Michael Rasmussen sits for holding him. Not a great offensive zone penalty for Ras to take here. The Leafs get a quick rush up ice and a cross-ice pass that has Husso sprawling but fortunately the puck hits off the outside of the net from Bunting. Just about a minute in the PP is over as Tavares slashes Ben Chiarot.

Nylander tries fancy work behind the Wings’ net at 4-on-4 but Chiarot gets tired of it and knocks him on his nipples for it. Rasmussen comes out of the box and the shortened Wings power play gets nothing done.

David Perron steals a puck and tries to feed Adam Erne. Take a guess. Just go ahead. One guess. Try to figure out what happens. Ahhh you already know. There’s not a tweet embedded here. Yeah, you know.

Detroit settles into a well-paced defense as time ticks down and the Leafs start trying to press more. They’re not completely passive, but they’re also being responsible with the puck while we approach the final 2:30.

Defensive zone faceoff for the Wings with 2:01 to go and the Leafs have an empty net. Chiarot takes the faceoff win and bounces it from behind the net off the boards and into the goal on the far end. 3-1 Wings.

Another couple missed empty nets for the Wings and William Nylander high-sticks Jake Walman with 1:11 left. Despite the lack of need to do anything but kill this one, Mo Seider don’t care and he decides to make it 4-1 Wings with a seeing-eye screened wrister from the point.

That hand-to-ear celebration is so smooth

The Score: 4-1 Detroit
The Shots: 33-23 Leafs
Observations: I like the part where we won the game and they didn’t.

Conclusions

I think what I liked most was the consistency with which the Wings kept their 3F in the right spot. It’s real easy to want to cheat to create offense by leaping below the tops of the circles, but honestly those tend to end up in more good neutral zone transition for your opposition than in quality scoring chances for you.

Tyler Bertuzzi brought his signature game back in this one. He’s chaos personified on the ice and sometimes that will hurt more than help, but in general, he was sowing his brand of “what the fuck is this guy up to?” in the Leafs’ zone rather than the Wings’

This was the most-Chiarotiest game he’s played for us. We got the guy to be mean to the other team and boy howdy was he a meanie tonight. He did a better job of not throwing himself out of position or crossing the line into ridiculous penalties, but most of all I only counted one odd-man rush he caused as a result of pinching up ice.

Next game is against the Blue Jackets on Saturday