Morning After: Red Wings @ Maple Leafs

This was a hard game to watch.

The Red Wings shot themselves in the foot early with a Darren Helm giveaway leading directly to a goal by Alexey Marchenko – the defenseman Detroit gave away for free via waivers because Ken Holland has such a weak grasp on the concept of asset management.

Then Niklas Kronwall takes a penalty and the Leafs score pretty quick on the power play and, ugh, it looks like it’s going to be one of those nights.

Nazem Kadri makes it 3-0 early in the second and the Toronto-based media is calling for a blowout but a strange thing happens.  Despite not managing a shot for about 15 minutes in the middle period, the Red Wings turn it on for the last five minutes and Gustav Nyquist scores.

Nyquist adds another just 36 seconds into the third and suddenly it’s a game.  But not really because most of the rest of the period is just the two teams fumbling around with each other.

We end with controversy, as Henrik Zetterberg gets high sticked – with a significant amount of blood drawn – and there’s no penalty.  Not that I want to have games relying on the Red Wings’ power play, but that could have made a massive difference.

After an earlier marginal goalie interference call on Nick Jensen, the missed high stick just adds to the “hard to watch” aspects of the game.  Yes, missed calls always go both ways and over a season they probably even out, but combined with the “Toronto Maple Leafs: Team…  Of…  Dessssstiny” narrative, it feels like the ice is tilted.

In the end, it wasn’t all bad.  Most of the losses this season haven’t been.  They just haven’t been good enough.  Late start, comeback falls short, blah blah blah.

On the plus side, Robbie Russo didn’t look horrible in his NHL debut.  A beat too slow in his decision making, probably (Mickey Redmond was harping on Russo taking too many hits), but his skating looked good.

Nyquist and Zetterberg also looked good.  Like the game mattered to them more than it did to some others.  There’s been some talk about not losing the culture of winning that the Red Wings have had and how Zetterberg is carrying that on even as the team misses the playoffs and I think you could really see that last night.

Abdelkader, Larkin Lead Red Wings Past Maple Leafs on Opening Night

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.

Red Wings Drop Third Straight with Loss to Leafs

A 4-1 loss to Toronto Saturday night gave the Detroit Red Wings their third consecutive loss and second in four nights to the Maple Leafs.

Detroit scored the game’s first goal but Toronto took over the scoring from there, potting four goals of their own.

Niklas Kronwall‘s blast from the blue line with 4:33 left in the first period found its way through traffic to beat Maple Leafs’ goalie Jonathan Bernier. The power play goal came off a quick pass from Johan Franzen.

Toronto would even things up just one minute later on a power play of their own, with Phil Kessel‘s shot from the left wing deflecting off of James van Riemsdyk in front and past Red Wings’ netminder Petr Mrazek.

The Leafs took the lead with 2:10 left in the second period, as a bad line change by Detroit let Richard Panik get in behind the defense and take a stretch pass from Korbinian Holzer. Panik beat Mrazek five-hole to make it 2-1.

Just 1:42 into the third period, Morgan Reilly made it 3-1. During a line change, Reilly streaked down the left side all alone and snapped a shot past Mrazek.

Nazem Kadri added an empty-net goal to round out the scoring.

Mrazek finished the night with 37 saves on 40 Toronto shots. Bernier stopped 27 of 28 Detroit chances.

The Red Wings were one-for-two on the power play while the Maple Leafs scored once on five tries with the man-advantage.

After three games in four nights, Detroit is now off until Tuesday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Detroit remained without forward Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Danny DeKeyserStephen Weiss was also out for the Red Wings, having suffered a shoulder injury on Friday night against the Florida Panthers. Daniel Cleary took his spot in the lineup… Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch, replaced in the lineup by Brian Lashoff.

Red Wings Lose Howard in 4-2 Win over Maple Leafs

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 Saturday night but lost starting goaltender Jimmy Howard in the process, as he suffered a shoulder injury early in the third period.

With the Red Wings leading 2-1, Joffrey Lupul drove to the net and bumped Howard, then fell on top of him and swept the rebound of a Phil Kessel shot into the net. Howard could not continue after the play and was replaced between the pipes by Joey MacDonald.

Jiri Hudler would put Detroit back in front just 38 seconds later, slapping a shot from the left faceoff circle past Toronto netminder James Reimer.

Todd Bertuzzi rounded out the game’s scoring with an empty net goal in the final minute.

Henrik Zetterberg had opened the game’s scoring 5:05 in, swatting a backhand rebound chance under Reimer with the Red Wings on a power play.

Nazem Kadri made it 1-1 with 2:04 left in the first, snapping a shot from the right faceoff circle through a Darryl Boyce screen and past Howard on the short side.

Tomas Holmstrom gave the Red Wings a second lead at 9:17 of the second period, deflecting a Niklas Kronwall shot from the blue line past Reimer on another Detroit power play.

The Wings finished the night two-for-two with the man advantage while the Leafs were scoreless on four power play attempts.

Howard stopped 15 of 17 shots before his injury. MacDonald stoped all seven shots he faced in picking up the win while Reimer made 25 saves on 28 shots.

The win puts the Red Wings at 1-1-1 in their current five-game homestand. They next host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.


Detroit was without forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen due to injury. Ruslan Salei was a healthy scratch on defense… Red Wings general manager Ken Holland later said that Howard’s injury “doesn’t appear to be anything significant.” With normal backup goalie Chris Osgood on long-term IR recovering from a sports hernia, Detroit is expected to call up either Thomas McCollum or Jordan Pearce to back up MacDonald on Monday.