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|Detroit Red Wings vs Toronto Maple Leafs|
The Detroit Red Wings finally break their lengthy shootout loss streak, and take down Original Six rivals Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in a shootout.
The Red Wings came into the game buzzing, as has been their habit lately. It would be the Leafs that open the scoring though, at 7:15, when Cody Franson took a pass at the blue line and let off a wrist shot through traffic that found its way past a screened Jonas Gustavsson to make it 1-0 early. The Wings would respond in glorious fashion though, potting 3 goals through the period. The first of which was scored at 8:57, when Pavel Datsyuk took the puck right through the crease through two defenders, and backhanded it top-shelf over James Reimer to tie the game 1-1. The next was put in at 13:18, when Daniel Alfredsson pushed a pass around the boards to Joakim Andersson, who wrapped the puck around the net, had it bounce off the heel of Reimer’s stick, and into the net for the 2-1 lead. The final of the period was scored at 18:08, when Tomas Jurco took the puck in alone on Reimer, and spun quickly in front of him, letting it off behind down low at Reimer. It squeaked its way in 5-hole for the 3-1 lead. Shots through one period were 12-7 in favor of Detroit.
Toronto opted to pull Reimer for the rest of the game, and started Jonathan Bernier in net for the second period. The Wings would watch their lead evaporate through the next 20 minutes, as at 11:45, Dion Phaneuf took a cross-ice pass in the Wings’ zone and let off an absolute rocket of a one-timer that beat Gustavsson top-shelf near-side to make it 3-2 Wings. They’d strike again at 18:24 on the power play, when Joffrey Lupul took the puck into the net and put it up under Gustavsson’s arm, who went down to his knees too soon on the shot, which tied the game 3-3 leaving the period. Shots were 21-15 in favor of Detroit after that point.
The third period was a true test of the faith of the Wings’ faithful. Toronto took the lead at 8:32, when a scramble ensued in front of the net, a direct result of a bad turnover by Danny DeKeyser, and David Clarkson came up and pushed the puck into the net after everyone thought a whistle should have been blown with the puck under Gustavsson. Nonetheless, it was a 4-3 Leafs lead after that. The response would come at 13:44, when Tomas Tatar took a rebound off of Bernier and batted it in backhanded to tie the game 4-4 late in the period and send it to OT. A lack of scoring from either side, and a huge hustle play by Jonathan Ericsson to thwart Toronto’s best rushing opportunity of the OT period, would see the game go to a shootout.
James van Riemsdyk shot first for Toronto, but he would miss the net entirely bringing the puck in on Gustavsson. Alfredsson shot first for the Wings, and beat Bernier with a quick snap shot up high. Mason Raymond shot next for Toronto. As he brought the puck in, Gustavsson lunged out of his net and poked it free of Raymond’s stick, stopping his chance. Datsyuk would be the final shooter of the night, as he came in patiently on Bernier and put the puck up over him off his backhand to win the game 5-4 for the Wings. Shots through 65 minutes ended up 38-23 for Detroit.
This is a huge win for them, they slightly extend their lead on the Leafs in the standings, they break a lengthy shootout loss streak and take pressure off themselves in that regard, and they gain some momentum heading into Monday night’s game against the New York Islanders. See you then, Nation!