Lucas Viveiros | Report

The Toronto Maple Leafs worked for an early Christmas present on Sunday evening, beating the Detroit Red Wings in comeback fashion by a final score of 5-4 in overtime. 

Toronto opened the game with a lacklustre first period, only registering a mere three shots through the opening frame.

However, only 27 seconds into the contest, the Maple Leafs found themselves with a 1-0 lead, as Auston Matthews fired a shot that caromed off of Bernier and right to Kasperi Kapanen’s stick, who made no mistake by banging home the goal.

Detroit would then carry the play for the remainder of the first, getting some hard working goals from young guns Filip Hronek and Michael Rasmussen to take a 2-1 lead into the second.

The Red Wings would add to that lead halfway through the period, as Christoffer Ehn would be sprung on a long pass and out muscle Leafs d-man Travis Dermott, to score his first NHL goal. The goal was a beauty backhander, top shelf past Garret Sparks, who seemed to not be at his best in this contest.

With the Buds offensive weapons, it’s no secret that they are not out of any game, and that would show in this one. Toronto would even the game before the third period on goals from a hard working fourth line shift by Frederik Gauthier, Par Lindholm, and Trevor Moore (who registered his first NHL point with an assist). Then they would add a goal of the week candidate with Morgan Rielly’s snipe assisted by a filthy play from John Tavares, to head into the third tied at three’s.

Red Wings centreman Frans Nielsen would give his club the lead shortly following the 12 minute mark of the third, banging home a juicy rebound that Sparks kicked out to the slot, making it 4-3 Detroit.

But Toronto would persevere by tying the game with the goaltender pulled and under 10 seconds remaining on the clock. On the goal, Jake Gardiner would wire a bullet towards the net, where John Tavares camped out perfectly in front to deflect the puck by Jonathan Bernier.

This game was due for some sudden death overtime, and the Maple Leafs would not disappoint their fans before the Christmas break.

Following a tape-to-tape pass by Travis Dermott, Kasperi Kapanen would shift into the offensive end, eluding Red Wings d-man Nick Jensen and spinning home a weak backhander that beat Bernier through the wickets, giving Toronto the 5-4 victory in overtime.

Revisit the game’s highlights below.

Up next, the Maple Leafs will enjoy some time off, as they are not scheduled to play until Friday against Seth Jones and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Game time is set for 7:00pm from Nationwide Arena, and can be watched on Sportsnet.

More news from the ice

  • The Maple Leafs set a franchise record for fewest games to reach 25 wins (37 games)
  • Morgan Rielly was named the NHL’s second star of the week ending December 23rd
  • Trevor Moore made his NHL debut for the Maple Leafs and registered an assist, recording his first NHL point
  • Justin Holl clawed back into the Leafs lineup for the first time since November 1st against Dallas
  • Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin extended his career-high point streak to 11 consecutive games

Out of town scoreboard

Sunday, December 23rd

Columbus 3 New Jersey 0

Boston 3 Carolina 5

Florida 6 Chicago 3

Philadelphia 3 NY Rangers 2 (SO)

Los Angeles 4 Vegas 3 (OT)

Arizona 4 San Jose 3 (SO)

NY Islanders 3 Dallas 1

More coverage to follow. Image from The Spokesman Review.

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