It’s that time of year when the Leafs have nothing to lose, and all the teams they are playing have everything to lose. It couldn’t have been truer Saturday, as Detroit’s playoff hopes are entirely in their own hands for the rest of the season.
Detroit’s desperation was evident in the first. They dictated the pace (it was boring), and put up the only two goals of the frame. Brad Richards, who apparently plays for the Red Wings, scored at 8:48 on the powerplay, and Mike Green scored one late.
The second period was a much better showing from the Leafs, who dominated the Wings for the entire 20 minutes. They were rewarded once for their efforts, with William Nylander lapping the entire offensive zone (and group of Wings on the ice) before giving Greening a tap in.
The third was a lot more like the first than the second, with the Wings having their legs early. Kyle Quincey and his beard scored a couple minutes into the period, a weak point shot that Sparks should have had. Nylander would score with the goalie pulled and a minute left, off a sweet feed from Nazem Kadri. The Leafs would continue to push for the last minute of play, but it was all for naught.
With reports coming out during the second intermission that he might leave for the KHL at the end of the season, leaving his team high and dry and his $7.5 million cap hit on the books, it’s hard not to give this to Pavel Datsyuk. Even though he’s a Red Wing right now, a move like that helps the Leafs and every other team in the division long-term.
SEE YOU MONDAY
The Leafs take on the Florida Panthers at the ACC Monday night. Puck drop is at 7:30.