TORONTO — After an eventful day, Andrew Copp made it a good night for the Red Wings.
Copp, who ended a 26-game scoring drought earlier this week, scored for the third time in as many games to help lift Detroit past Toronto, 4-2, on Sunday. After the win, the Red Wings (22-16-6) now sit in one of the Eastern Conference’s two wild card spots. Detroit is 6-1-1 in its last eight games.
Copp took a pass from Michael Rasmussen with 1:40 remaining to beat Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov, who had frustrated the Wings with numerous big saves the first two periods.
“We were trying to keep it simple with two minutes left,” Copp said. “You don’t want to do anything too crazy. Ras found me on a great pass. Kind of had to out-wait a few guys sliding and then put it in. ”
Kane Injured Early
The win was costly: The Red Wings lost Patrick Kane in the first period to a lower-body injury. He t0ok hits on each of his first two shifts and did not return.
Daniel Sprong tied the game with a backhand shot early in the third and Lucas Raymond put it out of reach with an empty-net goal in the final seconds.
After a scoreless first period, Toronto got on the board in the opening seconds of the second period on a goal by Pontus Holmberg. That stood until Dylan Larkin tied it with 4:21 left in the period. But the Leafs retook the lead when Mitch Marner scored with less than two minutes left in the period.
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The Red Wings continued their strong defensive play as of late. James Reimer made his first start in nearly three weeks and had a much better result. He had all0wed five or more goals in five of his previous seven starts. It was his first start since Dec. 27.
“I’ve been trying to practice hard and stay in it,” Reimer said. “Working on my mindset a lot, making sure I’m in a good place and set up well for when I got the opportunity and when I got the opportunity to go out there and play you know, I just do my thing and trust my game.”
The Wings didn’t leave for Toronto until Sunday afternoon and didn’t arrive at Scotiabank Arena until 6:15 p.m.
“What we could control was our effort and execution tonight.” coach Derek Lalonde said. “And I thought for the most part, guys did a really good job. We just kind of hung in there. And we got a really good performance from James. And that’s a good way for us to get two points on the road.”
The Red Wings stayed in Toronto Sunday night and are scheduled to fly to Florida on Monday. They’ll take on the Florida Panthers on Wednesday and the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. Florida and Carolina are third and fourth, respectively, in the Eastern Conference standings.
“It was a huge win, gutsy win, all of the above,” Captain Dylan Larkin said. “When everything was stacked up against us we just battled. You could tell the buy in there. Going into the third period we were down 2-1 and we were excited about that, because everything was stacked up against us since last night’s game. So why not come back and win that one? It feels amazing.”