Red Wings get blue-line boost in win, halt skid
Detroit — The music was back in the locker room, there was some energy in the locker room, even a few smiles.
That’s what a victory will do for a team, and the Red Wings desperately needed one.
They earned it Friday, defeating Toronto 3-1 ending a three-game winless streak and only their second win over their last 12 games (2-5-5).
“It was great; We hadn’t heard that in a while,” said defenseman Danny DeKeyser of the music after a victory. “It was a relief for sure. The last few games were tough for us, the overtime losses (last two games). The only thing you can do is stick with it and play well.”
The Red Wings (12-13-7, 31 points) closed out a long homestand of 13 of 15 games (4-4-5) at Little Caesars Arena, their new rink.
“Definitely not great,” said DeKeyser, of the homestand. “Obviously, we would have liked to have won a few games and pick up a few more points, but you can’t change anything now.
“Just move forward and get some wins on the road before Christmas.”
DeKeyser and defenseman Trevor Daley, two unlikely sources of offense, provided second-period goals — Daley’s shorthanded, breaking a tie, and the first goal this season for both — that gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.
Tomas Tatar (power play) added the third-period goal, his 10th, off a great pass from Henrik Zetterberg, and with goaltender Jimmy Howard making 25 saves, the Red Wings had their much-needed victory.
“We’ve been doing the right things but hadn’t gotten the results,” Daley said. “This was a big one for us. We needed it, it was a step in the right direction.”
Coach Jeff Blashill also felt this victory was a boost.
“Results help, they make you feel better about yourself and we need points,” Blashill said. “From a confidence standpoint, from a point standpoint, we need all the points we can get.
“I don’t think our process was a whole lot different than it has been if any. But we found a way to get two points.”
Daley’s was the tiebreaker, at 11:22 of the second period.
With the Leafs overplaying on Larkin on a 2-on-1 rush, Daley skated to just outside the hash marks and snapped a shot past goalie Curtis McElhinney.
"I don’t know what I was thinking. I try not to think too much out there, it gets me in trouble,” Daley said. “He just took away the passing lane so I saw a chance to shoot.”
Andreas Borgman scored the lone Leafs' goal, as Toronto lost its third consecutive game while playing their fifth game in seven nights.
The Leafs (20-13-1, 41 points) were without star forward Auston Matthews (upper body), who missed his fourth consecutive game.
But it didn’t matter to the Red Wings. They needed a win, regardless of who was in the lineup.
“It’s a great feeling to get the win,” Tatar said. “A lot of guys feel way better right now. For sure it was just getting tougher and tougher every day with that many losses. Hopefully, we can turn it around and build off this.”