Lucas Viveiros | Report

The Toronto Maple Leafs battled back to force overtime on Thursday night, but ultimately lost the extra point to the Red Wings by a final score of 5-4 in overtime.

William Nylander returned to the lineup for the first time this season, but was a non factor, as coach Babcock believes it will take Nylander some time to get back to the player he wants to be.

Despite Frederik Andersen’s hot play lately, and his flawless record against the Detroit Red Wings in his career (7-0-0 with a 2.55 GAA and a .920 save percentage) coach Babcock chose to give Freddy the night off, and instead present an opportunity for Garret Sparks.

At the other end of the pipes was former Maple Leaf Jonathan Bernier, trying to spoil the Leafs five game win streak.

Red hot winger Kasperi Kapanen would find the icebreaker at 4:50 of the first period, on a tic-tac-toe passing play between Johnsson, Gardiner and himself, registering his 11th of the season to make it 1-0 Toronto.

Detroit would storm back with three answered goals to take a two goal lead into the intermission, with Jonathan Ericsson beating Sparks clean with a seeing eye point shot to put the momentum in Detroit’s favour only 33 seconds after Kapanen gave the Leafs the lead.

A minute and five seconds following Ericsson’s goal, Luke Glendening would be left alone all in front and roof one over the shoulder of Sparks to make it 2-1 Wings.

And finally with only 14 seconds remaining in the first period, Gustav Nyquist would fake the shot, and then fire it over the glove of Sparks, for a 3-1 Detroit lead heading into the second period.

Detroit would prove to be a tough battle for the Buds, scoring another goal 11:07 into the second courtesy a Mike Green point shot, that Sparks couldn’t track. This put the Wings ahead 4-1, which would stand heading into the final period.

Toronto would begin to chip away and mount a comeback only 2:38 into the third, as John Tavares would rifle one over the glove of Bernier to cut the lead to 4-2.

The Buds would get another one back 8:50 into the third, as Marner would dance into the Wings zone and find Ozhiganov with a pass, which would be one-timed at the net where Zach Hyman would pick up the loose change. Toronto had life trailing only 4-3 with over 11 minutes to play.

Rookie Andreas Johnsson would find the tying goal off of a caromed puck, as the disk came off of the back boards following a Matthews shot, and Johnsson was in the right place at the right time to bang it past Bernier to tie the hockey game.

The Red Wings nearly beat Sparks with 12 seconds to play in regulation, as Wings defenceman Nick Jensen struck the iron and was inches away from beating the Buds before overtime.

Although the comeback by Toronto was impressive, they would ultimately drop the extra point in overtime, as John Tavares would commit a deadly turnover, and the Red Wings would spring Larkin on a breakaway, making no mistake by placing the puck five hole past Sparks.

Toronto would lose their first game in overtime this season by a final score of 5-4.

Revisit the game’s highlights below.

Up next, the Maple Leafs will take on another division rival, the banged up Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

Game time is scheduled for 7:00pm from TD Garden, and can be viewed on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.

More news from the ice

  • William Nylander returned to the Leaf lineup and received 12:29 of ice time, with none of those minutes coming in the final 14:35
  • Mitch Marner is the 10th player in Maple Leafs history to register 40 points within the team’s first 30 games of a season
  • Connor Brown skated in his 200th NHL regular season game
  • Members of the Humbolt Broncos and their families were in attendance
  • Red Wings d-man Niklas Kronwall played in his 900th NHL game
  • Dylan Larkin’s overtime winner was his third OT goal of the season

Out of town scoreboard

Thursday, December 6

Colorado 5 Florida 2

Columbus 4 Philadelphia 3 (OT)

NY Islanders 2 Pittsburgh 6

Montreal 5 Ottawa 2

Boston 2 Tampa Bay 3

Minnesota 0 Calgary 2

Washington 4 Arizona 2

Nashville 3 Vancouver 5

Chicago 3 Vegas 2

New Jersey 6 Los Angeles 3


More coverage to follow. Image from the Arizona Daily Star.

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