Last night at the Joe Louis Arena,the Detroit Red Wings had the home ice advantage, but so did the Toronto Maple Leafs. A large base of the Leaf Nation were on hand and they didn’t leave disappointed as Mike Komisarek scored 2:21 in the extra period as the Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime. There were plenty of “Lets Go Red Wings” chants that were quickly echoed by “Go Leafs Go.”
The Maple Leafs went ahead 2-0 early in the second period with goals by Jake Gardiner and Mike Brown. It seemed to wake up the Red Wings as they fired on all cylinders. They peppered Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson with shots, but they finally got on the board with a power play goal by Todd Bertuzzi as Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot at Gustavsson from the left face off circle and Bertuzzi scored on the rebound. The Red Wings tied the game at 16:01 when rookie Gustav Nyquist scored as he got the puck out from the boards and skated way from Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski, hitting a wrist shot for the 2-2 tie.
The Red Wings took that momentum to the third period and went ahead 3-2 as Henrik Zetterberg recovered the puck on a Komisarek turnover and tossed a no-look pass to Johan Franzen, who one-timed it for the lead that didn’t last long. The Maple Leafs tied it 65 seconds later as Mike Brown scored his second goal of the game as he squeaked a shot throught Red Wing goalie Jimmy Howard’s arm for a 3-3 tie.
Towards the end of the third period, Maple Leaf forward Clark MacArthur delivered a hit to the head of Red Wing forward Justin Abdelkader. Both players did go to the penalty box. MacArthur was suspended for the rest of the preseason and the first two games of the regular season.
In the extra period, an open Komisarek fired a wrist shot past Howard to end the game and send the Leaf Nation celebrating on Civic Center Drive and Jefferson Avenue.
It was an entertaining game for both fans of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. It’s not that often that the Maple Leafs come to the JLA, but it’s a big event whether it’s preseason or the regular season that these two teams meet. The game-winning goal could have been prevented as Ian White and Justin Abdelkader missed their assignments. Howard looked decent despite making 15 saves on 19 shots.
If you haven’t yet heard of the name Gustav Nyquist, you’ll be hearing his name more often now. I did mention in my last blog that he could be sent down to Grand Rapids for more seasoning, but he’s making that decision tough for Red Wing head coach Mike Babcock and the rest of the coaching staff. Nyquist, Cory Emmerton, and Fabian Brunnstrom have been bright spots this preseason. Emmerton did reflect a Mike Brown shot in the second period, but other than that he’s fared well the last couple of weeks.
It wasn’t a good Friday for defenseman Brendan Smith. He was suspened for the rest of the preseason and the first five games of the regular season for his hit to Ben Smith this past Wedsnesday. Smith was also sent down to Grand Rapids.
Both teams will take the Highway 401 to the Air Canada Centre as they will face off in the preseason rematch later tonight. The next time the two Original Six teams play each other in the regular season will be January 7 in Toronto.
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.