There was an NBA game held Saturday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena and the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs took a page from the roundball routine. They opted to play last shot wins.
Well, okay, it didn’t come down to the final shot but it sure looked like it might as the Leafs outscored the Wings 10-7.
Five takeways from the highest-scoring NHL game played in Detroit in over a decade.
Red Wings Snooze And Lose
For the second straight game, a common refrain was gripping the Red Wings. They didn’t start on time. It was 3-1 Leafs by the 11:06 mark of the first period, 6-1 midway through the middle frame and 7-2 after 40 minutes.
“We lost every puck race, every puck battle, every competition battle,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “We lost every single one of them.
“If you lose those types of battles, I don’t care what happens, you’re going to get scored on.”
Defenseman Marc Staal was echoing his coach’s assessment.
“Our start was so bad,” Staal said. “We didn’t have a good second, either. We just didn’t deserve to be in that game.
“The first and second periods were pretty embarrassing. We just had no pulse, we deserved to be where we were.
“We didn’t deserve to win, that’s for sure.”
Over? Did Someone Say Over?
Coming out for the third period, the Wings took advantage of some dreadful goaltending by the Toronto tandem of Jack Campbell and ex-Wing Petr Mrazek. They scored five goals in a span of 7:10. The outburst narrowed the Leafs’ advantage to 8-7.
“We start filling the net like that and you come back from a deficit, it doesn’t happen very often,” Staal said. “Obviously you’re surprised and shocked that you’re back in the game. It was such a crazy period. We’re pushing so hard to try and score just to get back in the thing.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 27, 2022
“Their goalie let a couple of soft ones in there and we got back into it and we start rolling but overall there just wasn’t a lot there to like.”
Blashill also wasn’t setting out in search of silver linings to the black cloud that hung over his team during the first two periods.
“I think I can look at things through clear eyes and at the end of the day, it would have been great to come back and win,,” Blashill said. “It would have been exciting, it would have been awesome, there’s no doubt about that but I also know, even if we did that, that’s not good enough.
“So I’m worried about making sure it’s better than that.”
That’s A Lot Of Goals Against
Detroit surrendered double digits in a game for the first time since a 10-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 2, 2017. It’s the first time the Wings have fished as many as 10 goals out of their net on home ice since they were handed a 10-3 setback by the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena on March 30, 2011.
That’s only the sixth time in the history of the franchise that Detroit has allowed double figures in goals at home.
In three games against Toronto this season, the Leafs have scored 22 goals against Detroit. There was a 5-4 Toronto win at the Scotiabank Center and a 7-4 outcome in favor of the Leafs the previous time they visited LCA.
Wonder what Al Sobotka’s save percentage is? Just over two years since the Leafs lost a game a Zamboni driver, everyone but the Zamboni driver was given a shot between the posts.
Detroit starter Alex Nedeljkovic ended up getting the hook after allowing the first three goals. Thomas Greiss played through the end of the second period. The third period saw Nedeljkovic returning to action.
“I felt bad for our goalies,” Staal said. “We just hung ‘em out to dry.”
Campbell was the one taking the long skate to the bench in favor of Mrazek after Detroit’s fifth goal.
Rookies Putting On A Show
Some of the NHL’s top rookies were on the ice Saturday and they didn’t disappoint.
Leafs forward Michael Bunting ended up posting a goal and four assists. He’s showing five goals against Detroit this season and 18 to lead all NHL rookies.
A multi-point third period for @DetroitRedWings rookie Moritz Seider extended his point streak to six games (1-9—10). The last rookie defenseman to post a longer run was Neal Pionk in 2017-18 (7 GP).#NHLStats: https://t.co/IhQQaL7gc3 pic.twitter.com/ziqTxyQgde
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 27, 2022
Potting two goals and adding an assist, Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond was reclaiming the NHL rookie scoring lead with 42 points.
Dishing out two helpers, Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider is leading all NHL first-year performers with 34 assists. He was also extending his points streak to six games.