Leafs turn on offense in third period, beat Red Wings
Toronto — A good trip, but not a perfect one for the Red Wings.
They lost 4-1 Saturday to the Toronto Maple Leafs after winning the first two games of this three-game trip, but were in position to complete the sweep.
Third-period goals by Tyler Bozak (shorthanded and empty net) and Peter Holland broke a 1-1 tie.
Bozak's shorthanded goal broke a 1-1 tie at 3:44 and Holland made it a two-game lead at 15:38, frustrating the the Red Wings.
"We were set up real good going into the third," coach Mike Babcock said. "We had played real well in the second period. When you turn pucks over, it's going to bite you. We should attack the net on those plays and we didn't and we dug it out of our net."
Bozak's shorthanded goal broke a 1-1 tie, and it was set up when Gustav Nyquist's short pass to Niklas Kronwall tied up Kronwall, and Bozak quickly took the puck the other way.
Bozak drove to the net and flippd a backhand past Jimmy Howard for his seventh goal.
"You think you have a chance to win the game right there and it goes the other way," Kronwall said. "It's a little frustrating, no doubt."
Holland's goal was the clincher, putting the Leafs up 3-1. Holland blocked Nyquist's shot, and outraced the Red Wings up ice, then snapped a shot that beat Howard short side for his fifth goal.
"We just weren't cautious with the puck," Howard said. "It's been key. Whenever we get a win we're careful, we're not turning pucks over."
The Red Wings are 10-5-5 (25 points), while the Maple Leafs snuck to within one point (11-8-2, 24 points).
Toronto is a perfect 8-0-0 when scoring first, which they did in this game, Leo Komarov scoring in the first period.
Tomas Tatar and Toronto's Komarov traded earlier goals.
Tatar scored his ninth at 10:28 of second period, tying the game and tying Nyquist for the team lead.
Tatar collided with Leafs defenseman Roman Polak in the corner, Polak getting injured on the play and forced out for the remainder of the night with a lower body injury.
With Polak down, Tatar broke free skating to the side of the net. Xavier Ouellet found Tatar open, and Tatar's one-timer beat goalie Jonathan Bernier for Tatar's eighth goal in 11 games (and third straight game with a goal).
The line of Justin Abdelkader, Riley Sheahan, and Tatar accounted for eight shots on net and dominated the Maple Leafs at times.
"I really liked their effort," said Babcock, who also credited the Daniel Cleary, Darren Helm, Tomas Jurco line. "Helm's line and Sheahan's line were our best lines on the trip. They've been good."
Not as good was the line of Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg and Nyquist, all of whom were minus-3.
"Their line wasn't as good the last couple of games," Babcock said. "You play 82 games and you go through a lot of ups and downs. They usually don't give up any goals but tonight they did."
Komarov opened the scoring for the Leafs.
Komarov scooped a loose puck in the corner and drove to the net. He flipped a shot which deflected off Jonathan Ericsson and bounced past Howard for his second goal at 11:39 of first period.
The Red Wings penalty kill was crucial in the opening 20 minutes, killing three Maple Leafs power plays.
Toronto's James van Riemsdyk had a great opportunity on a first-period power play, but slid the puck to the post off a feed from Phil Kessel.