Red Wings spoil Ny­lan­der’s re­turn

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

TORONTO — Dy­lan Larkin scored at 2:48 of over­time as the De­troit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Thurs­day de­spite blow­ing a three-goal lead in the third pe­riod.

Larkin moved in on a break­away af­ter tak­ing a pass over the top from Gus­tav Nyquist, who had a goal and two as­sists, and beat Gar­ret Sparks be­tween the pads to snap the Leafs’ five-game win­ning streak.

Mike Green, with a goal and an as­sist, Jonathan Eric­s­son and Luke Glen­den­ing also scored for De­troit (13-12-4). For­mer Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped 27 shots for the Wings. Larkin also had an as­sist.

An­dreas Johns­son and Kasperi Ka­pa­nen, with a goal and an as­sist each, John Tavares and Zach Hy­man scored for Toronto (20-8-1). Jake Gar­diner added two as­sists.

Gar­ret Sparks made 27 saves for the Leafs with No. 1 goalie Fred­erik An­der­sen get­ting the night off af­ter fac­ing 40-plus shots in four straight starts.

William Ny­lan­der suited up for his first game since com­ing to terms with Toronto on a new sixyear, US$45-mil­lion con­tract over the week­end to end a con­tract im­passe that cost the re­stricted free agent the sea­son’s first 26 games, but wasn’t a fac­tor.

The 22-year-old winger, who got a mostly warm re­cep­tion when he stepped on the ice for his first shift, started on a line with Aus­ton Matthews and Patrick Mar­leau be­fore get­ting benched mid­way through the third pe­riod.

“He’s an in­tel­li­gent player,” Leafs head coach Mike Bab­cock said of Ny­lan­der be­fore the game. “Once he gets up to speed he’ll be real good. We ex­pect him to have en­ergy tonight.

“He should be the fresh­est guy in hockey.”

But nei­ther Ny­lan­der or most of his team­mates looked fresh or had much en­ergy through 40 min­utes against an in­jury-hit op­po­nent miss­ing a num­ber of reg­u­lars as the Leafs trailed 4-1 through two pe­ri­ods.

Toronto came to life in the third, how­ever, scor­ing three goals in just un­der nine min­utes to tie it as Bab­cock put his lines in a blender, in­clud­ing the sta­pling of Ny­lan­der to the bench.

Tavares made it 4-2 when he ripped his 18th past Bernier off the rush at 2:38 of the third.

Sparks, who had a shaky open­ing, made a nice pad stop on Larkin at the other end to keep his team within strik­ing dis­tance be­fore Hy­man pot­ted his sev­enth on a re­bound at 8:50.

Johns­son then chipped his sixth up and over Bernier from in tight af­ter Matthews fired a de­flected shot off the end boards at 11:36 to make it 4-4 and send Sco­tia­bank Arena into a frenzy.

Con­nor Brown was stopped on a par­tial break­away in the fi­nal minute be­fore De­troit’s Nick Jensen hit both posts on a point shot that some­how stayed out at the other end with un­der 10 sec­onds to play.

CP PHOTO

William Ny­lan­der of the Toronto Maple Leafs pulls away from De­troit Red Wings de­fence­man Nik­las Kron­wall dur­ing Thurs­day’s game in Toronto.

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