TORONTO (AP) — Andrew Copp scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:40 remaining in the third period and the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Sunday night.
Dylan Larkin had a goal and an assist, and Daniel Sprong and Lucas Raymond added the other goals for Detroit, which won for the fifth time in its last six games and played the second game of a back-to-back. James Reimer made 28 saves.
“Really unique 24 hours … weather, mechanical issues, it was crazy. To show up for a 7 p.m. hockey game in the National Hockey League at 6:15 is very unique and unusual,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said, referring to the half-hour delay to the game’s start with Detroit traveling over from Los Angeles.
“But I thought our guys handled it pretty well. There was things we couldn’t control. In the last 24 hours, the only thing we could control was our effort and our execution tonight and it was a pretty good job from the guys.”
Pontus Holmberg and Mitchell Marner scored for Toronto, who lost their third straight game. Marner recorded his 600th career point with the goal, becoming the faster player in team history to reach the milestone.
Ilya Samsonov stopped 20 shots in his first start since Dec. 29.
Samsonov was waived Dec. 31 and then joined the Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. He was recalled by the Leafs on Wednesday, with rookie netminder Dennis Hildeby being loaned to the Marlies.
“He battled his (butt) off,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said of Samsonov. “It’s the best I thought he’s looked all season just in terms of tracking the puck and some of the saves looked like the Sammy that we came to know last season so I think this is a positive step for him.”
Samsonov was strong in a scoreless first period. The Red Wings outshot Toronto 10-7, including an early breakaway from J.T. Compher and multiple 2-on-1 chances that Samsonov stonewalled.
“He made a couple of massive saves for us throughout the game,” Marner said. “It was great to hear the fans chant his name and give him the love he deserves.”
Holmberg opened the scoring 32 seconds into the second period, tipping in a Morgan Rielly point shot.
Larkin knotted the contest with 4:21 remaining in the middle frame. He took a pass from David Perron between multiple Leafs defenders and beat Samsonov glove side.
Marner restored Toronto’s lead with 1:42 left in the second. He found a streaking Tyler Bertuzzi who pulled the defense’s eyes his way and sent it back to Marner for an easy tap-in goal.
Sprong evened the score 2:46 into the third period, beating a sprawling Samsonov with a backhand.
Copp put the Red Wings ahead just moments after the crowd was chanting “Sammy” following a sprawling save on Alex DeBrincat by Samsonov.
Raymond netted an empty-netter with 18.9 seconds remaining.
“We obviously played a good enough game to win it,” Marner said. “Just little errors, (tough) bounce on the one goal with (Rielly) breaking his stick but obviously not happy about it.”
Red Wings: Visit Panthers on Wednesday.
Maple Leafs: Open a four-game road trip against the Oilers on Tuesday.
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