Coach Dave Lewis disappointed the Toronto media by deciding that Curtis Joseph would NOT start against his old team. Manny Legace then followed suit and disappointed the Toronto fans and players by playing a spectacular game and coming within ten seconds of a shutout. The Red Wings got their four game Canadian road trip off to a good start, skating to a 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto.
The first period did not go at all well for the Red Wings. The Leafs outshot them 11-5, but Manny Legace stopped every shot the Leafs could come up with. The Red Wings also failed to generate many offensive chances in the other direction. Most of the shots towards Ed Belfour were either blocked before they reached the net or Belfour saw them clearly and had no trouble keeping them out of the net.
The Red Wings turned the tables in the second period. Legace continued to play superbly, but he didn’t have nearly as much work to do. The Red Wings began blocking the shots before they could get to the net and covering the Maple Leafs perfectly so that none of them could get any high quality shots away. At the other end of the rink, Detroit brought much better pressure against Toronto. Brett Hull had a nearly perfect scoring chance when Pavel Datsyuk passed the puck out from behind the net, but the shot went just wide.
The Wings knew they were playing better, and they kept it up in the third. They finally got on the scoreboard 5:14 into the period, keeping up their trend of shorthanded scoring. Darren McCarty was in the penalty box for holding. Chris Chelios made a clearing pass to Kirk Maltby, who got away on a two-on-one rush with Kris Draper keeping up on the right side. Maltby used defenseman Tomas Kaberle as a screen, and the puck sailed into the net over Belfour’s right shoulder.
Unlike many teams do when they give up a shorthanded goal, the Maple Leafs did not let it throw off their power play. Legace was called upon to make a huge save on Mats Sundin just after Maltby’s goal was scored to keep the lead for the Wings.
Henrik Zetterberg added an insurance goal about two minutes later. Hull passed the puck from the right corner to Datsyuk near the side of the net. Datsyuk dropped the pass back between his legs to Zetterberg out front, and Zetterberg put the puck in just below the crossbar.
The Red Wings continued to pressure the Maple Leafs, and Legace continued to make the necessary saves, but his shutout bid was spoiled by a fluke goal with only ten seconds remaining. The Leafs had pulled Belfour from the net to send in the extra skater. Hull attempted to clear the puck from the zone, but instead, it hit Brendan Shanahan and bounced right back to the stick of Tie Domi in front of the net. Domi was able to bang the puck in before Legace could slide across to stop him.
The final count of shots on goal was 30-26 in favor of Detroit. The Red Wings will next head west to face the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.
Jason Williams was in the lineup in place of Boyd Devereaux, who was a healthy scratch…. New defense acquisition Jason Woolley will most likely make his debut as a Red Wing against the Flames on Tuesday…. The Leafs fans booed Chris Chelios every time he had the puck because of some comments he made to the Detroit media last week: “I don’t like Toronto. I don’t like the way they treat people in the media. You watch what they do to the Maple Leafs there. It gets too personal.” Of course, booing Chelios is not always the best of ideas, as we saw in the playoffs last season. Just ask the Vancouver Canucks.