There have been plenty of nights this season where the Detroit Red Wings have lost but felt they deserved better. It was the other way around in their last outing, and now they hope it’s the start of a winning run.
Detroit, which hosts Toronto on Thursday, snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over Winnipeg on Tuesday but were far from pleased with the effort.
“As much as we’ve stayed positive through some of these losses when playing fairly well, I think our guys do a pretty good job of judging ourselves,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “I’d be hard-pressed to find a game we played poorer (this season). I’m a little frustrated because I haven’t seen this out of this group lately.”
The Red Wings were loose on the defensive end but tied their season high in goals as seven different players scored.
“We’ve been playing good but not getting results, so (Tuesday) was the other way around,” said forward Lucas Raymond, who had a goal and two assists. “A big thing we take away is being able to win these types of games if we’re not all there.”
Defenseman Moritz Seider, who won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie last season, wasn’t one of the goal scorers but contributed a career-high four assists, including three in the opening period.
“Obviously, the offense was there for Mo (Tuesday), but his compete and battle, some of those extended shifts in our zone, he was the guy that got us out,” Lalonde said. “He was by far our best player. He was a big part of why we had two points.”
Detroit never trailed after grabbing a 3-0 lead, but didn’t put the game away until Raymond’s empty-net goal with 1:20 remaining.
“It never felt comfortable,” Lalonde said. “Just because the way we were playing. We had no gas, we were slow, we were tired. We had mental mistakes, tired mistakes.”
The Maple Leafs won the first two meetings with Detroit, including a 4-1 victory in Toronto on Saturday, and can clinch the four-game season series with a point on Thursday. Mitchell Marner has scored in each of those games.
Marner also scored the game-winner in Toronto’s 2-1 win over Nashville on Wednesday as the Maple Leafs took advantage of a late four-minute power play. Toronto’s power play went 1-for-5.
“It was ugly, but it won us the hockey game,” coach Sheldon Keefe said.
Matt Murray made 32 saves as the Maple Leafs notched their third consecutive victory.
“For me, he is full marks tonight. He has played a lot of really good hockey for us this season,” Keefe said. “I am not sure there has ever been a game I left saying, ‘The goaltender won us the game.’ In a lot of ways, you could say that tonight.”
The Leafs could be without one of the league’s top offensive threats, Auston Matthews, for the second straight night. Matthews, who has 47 points this season, didn’t play against the Predators due to an undisclosed injury.
“Auston’s day-to-day, not too far away,” Keefe said. “We’ll see about (Thursday). It’s something that’s been lingering for a while.”
–Field Level Media