Red Wings Dominate Home-and-Home Against Maple Leafs

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Following back to back losses, including a heartbreaker against Boston in a shootout, the Detroit Red Wings were looking to bounce back in a home-and-home matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The series started out in Toronto on Friday night, and the teams had to quickly head back to Detroit and play the following night.

Game one saw an abundance of contribution from numerous Red Wings, particularly on the first line. Halfway through the first period, the captain, Henrik Zetterberg, found Johan Franzen for the first goal of the game. It was also his first of the season. Jimmy Howard held the Maple Leafs scoreless in the first period, standing firm in net.

Detroit opened the floodgates after Zetterberg found an open lane to the net, delayed his shot, and laid it off to Johan Franzen for a beautiful second goal of the night. Then, with just under two minutes left, Gustav Nyquist continued his hot streak with a goal in his fourth straight game to start the season.

The Maple Leafs regained some life after Mike Santorelli scored just 21 seconds into the third period. In response, Nyquist skated through the Maple Leaf defense, faked a shot, and sent a nifty pass to Justin Abdelkader for the easy open net goal.

That was the nail in the coffin, as the Red Wings skated out the third and cruised to a 4-1 victory.

Howard finished with 24 saves, and Detroit had 39 shots on goal. Zetterberg led the Red Wings with four assists — one on every goal.

Game two was a much different story. The Maple Leafs had won two straight before falling to the Red Wings at home and wanted to take their revenge at the Joe. Jonas Gustavsson got the nod in goal, and Stephen Weiss appeared for Detroit, replacing Franzen who suffered a lower body injury the night before.

Despite numerous opportunities, including two Tomas Tatar shots that rattled the pipes, the teams fought to a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation.

Overtime was a much similar story, and the game seemed destined for a shootout. However, the Captain had other ideas.

With only ten seconds left, Zetterberg ripped a slapshot from the slot that buried itself in the back of the goal. The crowd erupted, the sirens rang, and Zetterberg was the hero. After tallying four assists for himself Friday, a game-winning overtime goal seemed deserving.

KEY NOTES AND STATISTICS

  1. Johan Franzen left in the third period during Friday’s game, and was scratched on Saturday. Jimmy Howard was scratched on Saturday due to a groin injury.
  2. Henrik Zetterberg’s four assists Friday night tied his career high, while Gustav Nyquist’s streak ended Saturday of four straight games with a goal.
  3. Detroit goes on the road to the 5-1 Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, and head back home to Joe Louis Thursday for a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Nathaniel Bott is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports