Justin Abdelkader scored a hat trick and rookie Dylan Larkin added his first career NHL goal as the Detroit Red Wings breezed to a 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
The win was the first for new Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill, opening the season with a victory over former head coach Mike Babcock, who left for Toronto in the offseason.
Goalie Jimmy Howard earned the shutout for the Red Wings, stopping all 22 shots he faced.
Abdelkader opened the scoring just 1:15 into the game. On a Detroit power play, Henrik Zetterberg fed Johan Franzen for a shot from the right faceoff circle that careened off the far post. The puck bounced off the back of goalie Jonathan Bernier’s leg and towards the goal, with Abdelkader jumping in to knock it across the goal line.
At 8:20 of the period, Larkin won a battle for the puck in the right-wing corner and send a pass to Abdekader in the slot for a quick shot past Bernier and a 2-0 lead.
The rookie’s goal came just 20 seconds into the second period. Larkin raced down the left wing past Toronto’s Nazem Kadri and snapped a shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle into the top of the near-side corner of the net, over Bernier’s shoulder.
Abdelkader completed the hat trick against James Reimer, who replaced Bernier after Larkin’s goal. At 3:54 of the middle frame, Abdelkader and Larkin raced into the Toronto end after a turnover in the neutral zone. Abdelkader held onto the puck down the right side and snapped a shot from the inside edge of the faceoff circle past Reimer for a 4-0 lead.
Reimer finished the night with 12 saves on 13 shots. Bernier stopped six of the nine shots he faced.
Detroit went 1-for-4 on the power play while Toronto was scoreless on three chances with the extra attacker.
The Red Wings are right back in action on Saturday night, visiting the Carolina Hurricanes.
Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, and Danny DeKeyser all started the season on injured reserve for the Red Wings… Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco, and Alexey Marchenko were healthy scratches… Larkin is the first teenager to score in his debut for the Red Wings since Steve Yzerman.