DETROIT – On a night when their biggest stars were quiet offensively, the Toronto Maple Leafs still scored plenty.
Ilya Mikheyev put the Maple Leafs ahead in the final minute of the second period when goalie Jimmy Howard’s gamble backfired, and Toronto went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Saturday night, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Detroit’s Anthony Mantha, who entered the night with six goals apiece, were both held without a point. Instead, the Maple Leafs got goals from Mikheyev, Nicholas Shore, Alexander Kerfoot, Jake Muzzin and Trevor Moore.
“We have lots of depth here,” Muzzin said. “We have smart hockey players and guys that are working hard and hungry, so that’s a great combination to have.”
Jacob de la Rose and Darren Helm scored for Detroit.
With the game tied at 1, Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen flipped the puck up the ice, and Mikheyev appeared to have a step on Detroit defenceman Madison Bowey as the two chased it. Howard came well out of his net, hoping to beat Mikheyev to the puck, but the rookie forward got there first, stickhandled to his left and shot into the empty net with 29.5 seconds left in the period.
“That goal there at the end of the period, that they went up 2-1, was a tough one,” Detroit forward Dylan Larkin said. “I thought we did a good job responding after that, starting the third. They scored and then we scored again. Just came up short.”
Kerfoot put Toronto up 3-1 in the third, collecting a rebound that Howard left in his crease. Helm answered 24 seconds later, beating goalie Frederik Andersen with a wrist shot from the slot. Muzzin put Toronto back up by two when he converted a nice cross-ice pass from Dmytro Timashov with 6:26 remaining.
Moore’s empty-net goal closed out the scoring.
John Tavares had an assist on that final goal, but Mitchell Marner and William Nylander went pointless in addition to Matthews.
Fresh off a 7-3 loss to Tampa Bay two days earlier, the Maple Leafs fell behind 1-0 when de la Rose capped a busy shift in the Toronto zone by knocking in a rebound while falling to the ice in front of the net. The Maple Leafs tied it when Timashov won a battle for the puck behind the net and found Shore, who had plenty of time to beat Howard from in front.
“We thought our work ethic was really good in camp, really good at the start,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “Liked it all the way through. We didn’t like it last game, but to me, that’s got to be our calling card. If we go to work, our talent will show. You’ve got to outwork the other team. That’s the bottom line.”
The Red Wings could take some encouragement from their own depth, after a solid game from the line of de la Rose, Helm and Justin Abdelkader.
“I think it’s repeatable. They’ve got three games in a row where they’ve been big, strong, heavy, created scoring chances,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “They ended up going a decent amount against Matthews. … I think they’ve been a real good line for us, the last little bit.”
NOTES: Abdelkader had two assists, the first of which was his 250th career point. … Mantha had a partial breakaway stopped by Andersen in the second. … Toronto outshot Detroit 41-27.
Maple Leafs: Host Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Red Wings: Visit Vancouver on Tuesday night.
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