Howard pulled in 1st period as Wings falter
TORONTO — The Detroit Red Wings couldn’t overcome poor goaltending as they faced the top offense in the NHL.
Jimmy Howard gave up three goals on the first four shots he faced Wednesday at Air Canada Centre, and Petr Mrazek got beat on the first shot he saw. Detroit’s skaters played well as they attempted a rally, but the Wings came up short in a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“There were some kind of funny goals,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I don’t know that that was all on them. I think some of it is it was one of those nights where it just kind of goes in for them.
“We did tons of good stuff and had lots of moment especially in the first where we carried the play, but it just seemed like everything they threw at the net went in.”
The Wings outshot the Leafs, 33-26. They pulled Mrazek with more than three minutes to go, and William Nylander took advantage with an empty-net goal.
Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Ericsson scored goals and Nick Jensen had a career-high three assists with Dylan Larkin adding two.
The loss is the second straight after the Wings started the season 4-1. In addition to subpar goaltending, they lost the specialty-teams battle, going 1-for-3 on power plays and 1-2 on penalty kills.
“It happens sometimes,” Zetterberg said. “We just have to regroup and keep doing the good things here and keep our heads high and keep working hard.”
Here are the major storylines from the game.
First-period falter: The Wings had good offensive zone time and got the first four shots on net, only for the Leafs to take a 2-0 lead inside a minute. First, Nazem Kadri beat Howard short side at 5:56, and then Zach Hyman tipped Morgan Rielly’s shot at 6:39. The Wings had six shots on net, but nothing to show for it. ... They earned a power play at 9:09 but couldn’t maintain possession of the puck and never got a shot on Curtis McElhinney. ... Auston Matthews deked in the left circle to angle the puck short side on Howard at 13:46, ending Howard’s night.
“I felt like it felt the same way as against Tampa,” Tatar said. “We start good and the bounces went the opposite way and they score too many times. It’s kind of tough to recover from it.”