The Red Wings played a familiar game on the road Saturday night, even against Original Six rival Toronto, even before a crowd of just as many Red Wings fans as there were Leaf fans at the ACC, which is to be expected for an original six match up. A bad start left the Wings trailing, 3-0, a amazing second period got the Red Wings back in the game, which they tied in the third, only to make a mistake that ended up costing them the game, a 4-3 loss in their only meeting of the season against the Maple Leafs. Goals from Todd Bertuzzi, Niklas Kronwall and Jiri Hudler were undone when Kronwall handed Joffrey Lupul the game-winning goal at 7:10 of the third period, firing a puck intended for Valtteri Filppula straight to Lupul.
"It was a simple play," Kronwall said. "I was going to just rim it around the boards to Fil and it never really made it anywhere. It was more of a pass to him than anything. We were playing pretty good there after the first period, and then to give it up like that, it's very disappointing." Captain Nicklas Lidstrom was blunt after the Wings fell to 10-12 on the road as they headed to Chicago for tonight's game, which will see Ty Conklin start in goal. "We made too many mistakes, and you can't do that against a good offensive team," Lidstrom said. "We settled down late in the first, and I thought we took the game over and scored, got ourselves right back into the game, and then another mistake."
The Leafs scored three times before 11:36. Phil Kessel converted a penalty shot at 4:30, granted a chance to do so even though he'd gotten a shot off as Ian White grabbed hold. "I guess I'm not totally sure on the rules," White said. "I thought the rule was if they get a decent shot, then it's not a penalty shot. But the ref said it's a pure discretionary call, and I gave him a pretty good hook." Danny Cleary missed clearing a puck on a penalty kill face-off, and Dion Phaneuf turned that into a power-play goal at 8:19. David Steckel made it 3-0 off a rush. "I wasn't happy with our start," Lidstrom said. "We weren't on our toes at all. We were kind of sitting back. They were coming with speed, and we didn't respond to that. It's disappointing, especially coming back and tying the game up in the third."
Bertuzzi deflected Pavel Datsyuk's shot at 6:46 of the second period, prompting one of the many loud Wings fans in attendance to toss an octopus; the fan soon found himself removed from the stands. Kronwall followed up with a power drive to the net and a backhand at 15:49, and Hudler came through with his third goal in two games 4:32 into the third period. That all three scores were hard-nosed, net-front goals was little consolation to coach Mike Babcock. "We had great opportunities," he said, "but, you know, the hockey gods treat you right: You don't start on time, you don't win that often. We weren't good enough." The Wings sent 30 of their 40 shots on Jonas Gustavsson the last 40 minutes, but left Toronto with nothing to show for it. "We dug ourselves in a hole," Jimmy Howard said after seeing 18 shots. "It's tough to play catch-up hockey in this league."
SCORING SUMMARY --- Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Detroit Red Wings 3.
1st Period: Toronto, Kessel 24 (penalty shot), 4:30 - Toronto, Phaneuf 7, 8:19 (pp). - Toronto, Steckel 7 (Lupul, Kessel), 11:36
2nd Period: Detroit, Bertuzzi 6 (Datsyuk, Franzen), 6:46 - Detroit, Kronwall 9 (Franzen, Datsyuk), 15:49
3rd Period: Detroit, Hudler 12 (Stuart, Zetterberg), 4:32. - Toronto, Lupul 19, 7:10 (GWG)
GAME STATISTICS: Shots: Detroit 10-14-16--40. Toronto 10-2-6--18. Power plays: Detroit 0 of 1; Toronto 1 of 1. Goalies: Detroit, Howard 24-10-1. Toronto, Gustavsson 12-7-0. A: 19,536. T: 2:19. Referees: Mike Hasenfratz, Brad Watson