Detroit — You had to check the calendar. The raucous crowd chanting, "Let's Go, Red Wings," with an echo of "Go, Leafs, Go." The scrappy, grinding, if not artistic, play on the ice. It felt more like May than October.
"It was a lot of fun," said Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who pitched a shutout in his first start of the season as the Red Wings beat the Leafs, 1-0, on an overtime winner by Henrik Zetterberg.
"They always have their fans here and it almost feels like a playoff game. It's more loud than normal. Both teams have a good crowd here."
Nothing, it seemed, could dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd — not 60-plus minutes of scoreless hockey, not the fact that both teams were fatigued after playing Friday night in Toronto.
"It was a hard-fought game for both teams," said Zetterberg, who scored with 9.9 seconds left in the overtime. "I don't think either team had real good legs tonight but both played a real structured game and the goaltending was real good on both sides.
"That both teams get a point (the Wings get two) was probably deserved."
Zetterberg had a hand in all five goals scored against the Leafs. He assisted on all four in the 4-1 win Friday.
"He had a tough game against Boston (last Wednesday) and knew it," coach Mike Babcock said. "But being the good leader and determined player that he is, he really dug in."
His goal came on what developed into a 3-on-2. Jonathan Ericsson worked the puck to Niklas Kronwall along the wall. Kronwall made a cross-ice pass to a streaking Zetterberg, who ripped a shot off Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier and into the net.
"I got pretty good wood on it," Zetterberg said.
"It was my mistake," said Bernier, who stopped 31 of 32 shots. "I didn't see him (Zetterberg) coming down the other side and I over-challenged. It hit my stick and went in."
It was the only blemish on an otherwise brilliant effort. Bernier got the game to overtime by first stopping Kronwall at close range in the third period. Then, with 6:55 left in regulation, he made a spectacular glove save on Justin Abdelkader. Abdelkader and Zetterberg each got to the puck at the same time, but Abdelkader wound up taking the shot.
Three minutes later, Gustav Nyquist set up Zetterberg, but his shot went wide.
"It's frustrating that we didn't quite get the extra point," Bernier said. "They beat us two games in a row, so now we've got to focus …. This is a tough one. You always want two points and we came up short."
Gustavsson, a former Leaf, had last worked in an exhibition game two weeks ago. But if there was any rust, it didn't show. He kicked away all 30 shots he faced.
"I felt pretty good," he said. "I had a few bad rebounds but the guys helped me a lot. The guys battled hard in front of me all night. You know, you have to make a couple of saves — that's what I am here for. But the guys did a great job. They had some shots, but most of the shots were from the outside and I could see the puck."
Gustavsson's best save might have been in the first period when he stoned Mike Santorelli on a breakaway chance.
"He was impressive," Nyquist said. "He hadn't played. We traveled last night and didn't have a morning skate, so he probably didn't take any shots in the morning. For him to step in like that was great to see."
The Wings continue to be perfect on the penalty kill. They stopped all four of Toronto's opportunities Saturday. They have killed 16 straight.
"When you take the first game of a back-to-back, you don't want to end up with the split because then nothing happens in the standings," said Nyquist, whose goal streak was stopped at four games. "Now we gain a few points on a division opponent. You see how tight it is and it's going to be like that all season long. These wins were big."