Danny DeKeyser talks about the Red Wings' great start after a 9-day break The Detroit News
Detroit — Nine days without a game didn’t seem to bother the Red Wings as much as it did Toronto.
And for that, the Wings were rewarded with a victory Friday night, as Danny DeKeyser converted Gustav Nyquist’s pass at 2 minutes, 40 seconds of overtime for a 3-2 victory.
It was DeKeyser's second goal of the season, and the second point of the evening for Nyquist, who opened the scoring with his 12th goal. Andreas Athanasiou assisted on all three Wings goals, including Dylan Larkin’s power-play goal in the third period.
“It’s tough to come back after nine days but it was for both teams,” DeKeyser said. “We came out real good in the first (period) and played with a lot of energy and competed hard. We had a lot of chances in the first that we didn’t put in, but we played well at the start.”
The victory was dampened by Larkin hurting himself early in overtime. Larkin winced while attempting to skate after Toronto’s Mitch Marner, and clutched his right side while heading down to the locker room.
Coach Jeff Blashill said Larkin will travel with the Wings to Ottawa but wasn’t sure about Larkin’s availability.
Jeff Blashill on Dylan Larkin's injury and availability Saturday in Ottawa The Detroit News
“He’s got a little bit of an upper-body (injury), we’ll know more tomorrow,” Blashill said. “He’s going to travel. I’m hoping he plays tomorrow (Saturday). It’s not something like, I heard news he wouldn’t have a chance. I’m hoping he plays. We’ll see.”
Toronto's Patrick Marleau scored his 12th goal at 17:41 of the third period, deflecting Auston Matthews' pass off his wrist and past goalie Jimmy Howard.
Larkin’s power-play goal at 13:33 of the third period, his 22nd goal, had tied the score 1-1.
Larkin snapped a shot that bounced off goalie Frederik Andersen’s shoulder and into the net, quieting the large segment of Leafs fans at Little Caesars Arena.
“That may have been the loudest the building has been all year,” said Howard, who stopped 19 shots to earn the victory. “It was a fun atmosphere to play in, and coming off such a long break, when you get that fan interaction, it gives you an extra boost.”
While getting the one power-play goal on four attempts, the Wings also killed all five Toronto power plays. The Leafs had difficulty setting up on nearly every man-advantage.
“They have a ton of skill over there, but for the most part, we did a good job,” DeKeyser, said of the Wings’ penalty kill. “They might have missed a few chances that maybe they thought would go in, but on a power play that skilled, you try to give the lowest percentage play, and that’s what we did.”
Nyquist and Matthews traded second-period goals.
The Wings outshot Toronto 33-21 and didn’t give the explosive Leafs (30-17-3) much opportunity to unleash their offensive force.
“The best defense you can have is playing in the other team’s end with the puck,” Blashill said. “For large parts of the game we did that.”
The Wings (20-25-7) have now won four of their last six games and are attempting to build momentum in these final two months of the season.
“We’re playing well right now,” DeKeyser said. “We’re just playing hard. Obviously we’ve had some tough games that haven’t gone our way, but I like the way we’ve stuck with it.”