Did you know that this was Mike Babcock’s first game back in Detroit since leaving the Red Wings organization this past offseason for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Yes. This is the first time Babcock has returned to Detroit. Since he joined the Leafs. It’s true! The first time! You hadn’t heard? It’s a big deal!
Ok, I’m done.
Coming off back-to-back shut outs, the anemic Maple Leafs offence got a very early kickstart when James van Riemsdyk would direct a Daniel Winnik rebound in behind Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard just 1:09 into the game. That lead wouldn’t last very long, though. Just over a minute later, Justin Abdelkader would tie the game up at ones, and three minutes after that Drew Miller would score another to put Detroit up 2-1.
It wouldn’t be until the final minute of the second period before Toronto would respond, with a Mark Arcolbello power play goal – a juicy rebound off of a nice Morgan Rielly point shot. You have to wonder if that goal acts as a sort of stay of execution, as Arcobello hasn’t had the strongest of camps and could find himself demoted to the Toronto Marlies as early as tomorrow.
Again, Detroit would respond quickly. Just three minutes into the third period, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg would finish off a very, very pretty passing play and put another puck past James Reimer. Add a Brad Richards empty-netter with a minute-thirty to go, and there’s your game – Detroit takes the 4-2 win in the first of back-to-back games with Toronto.
He didn’t put up any points tonight, but it didn’t seem like there was a Leaf on the ice tonight that was moving his feet more and getting involved in the play more than Zack Hyman. Entering the preseason with an outside chance at cracking the lineup, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Hyman instead spend the full season with the big club if he continues to play like this.
The Leafs and Red Wings will meet once again tomorrow night in what will be both teams’ final tune-up before the regular season. Tune into Sportsnet One at 7:00 pm to catch all the action.