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Maple Leafs 4 Red Wings 1 #BUDSALLDAY

A complete team effort runs a tired Red Wings team out of the rink to go 8-1-1 in their last ten. BUDS. ALL. DAY.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night the Leafs travelled to Detroit for their second game in consecutive nights, and escaped with two points that they had no business winning, as the Red Wings took advantage of a tired Leafs team but couldn't solve James Reimer.

Tonight, the Leafs returned the favour, hosting the Red Wings after they played last night. The difference being that after some early problems, the Leafs kept the foot on the gas and overpowered the Red Wings for a 4-1 win, their fourth straight victory.

First Period

The game took a few minutes to get going, thanks to Detroit icing the puck four times in just over a minute. The Leafs would control early pressure, and back at home Randy Carlyle had a better time getting his preferred line matchups, with Nazem Kadri's line primarily matching up against Henrik Zetterberg and Tyler Bozak's line matched against Pavel Datsyuk. One of those would prove effective.

The rest of the first period became a matter of who made the most of their power play opportunities. The Leafs got the first chance but didn't do much of consequence, then the Red Wings had a de factor power play for a shift as the Datsyuk line basically went wherever they went against a Bozak line & Gardiner-Holzer that just collapsed and prayed. This was puncutated by just a ridiculous save by Jonathan Bernier on a rebound

Unfortunately, the Red Wings would strike first on a dubious James VanRiemsdyk hooking penalty, as the Red Wings, who move the puck around beautifully when they set up their power play, opened up a lane for a Niklas Kronwall one-timer from the point that beat a screened Bernier.

The Leafs would get another power play late in the first, and on this one they capitalized. Phil Kessel cycled off the boards into the middle and put a shot on net - well, he didn't so much aim to actually beat Petr Mrazek as shoot it at the general vicinity where JVR was standing in front of the net. Anyway, the puck deflected off the toe of his skate for a goal that tied the game at 1 going into the first intermission.

Second Period

Toronto kept up the pressure throughout the second period, taking advantage of the tired Wings team but the Leafs were utilizing all four lines effectively, using the depth and speed they now have throughout their line-up. Kadri's line in particular was tremendously sucessful going up against Zetterberg's line. The micro view on Nazem Kadri is sometimes tough to gauge; recall when he'd slipped to basically being the third line centre for brieg spell. But Carlyle's hit on a real good thing here with Kadri centering Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli as a unit that is capable of taking the tough assignments. Kadri's development as a two-way centre is a major step forward for the Leafs going forward. Winnik and Santorelli have been absolute steals and I hope they find a way to keep them in the lineup if feasible.

The Leafs would take the lead after a wild back-and-forth segment of play. Tyler Bozak had a chance broken up by tremendous defensive work by Pavel Datsyuk (bless Bozak for trying tonight but man he was outmatched by the "best player in hockey"), but the Red Wings rush the other way was broken up by Korbinian Holzer, who sprung the Leafs on a breakaway for a fresh off the bench Richard Panik, who put a nifty deke on Mrazek and then tried to attack the second row while celebrating. .

Third Period

Morgan Rielly gave the Leafs a 3-1 lead early in the third after the Red Wings were caught on a horrendous line change, giving Rielly a lane down the left side of the ice the entire way to the faceoff circle, where he squeezed a shot past Mrazek. It was a perfectly placed shot by Rielly but underneath the glove and above the pad is a save an NHL goalie has to make.

The Leafs did a real good job keeping their foots down, and I think the fact that the Red Wings were on the end of a back-to-back hurt their ability to sustain pressure and force the Leafs back into the traditional Carlyle Hockey mindset. Mike Babcock even started putting Zetterberg and Datsyuk together to try and jumpstart the offence, but the Wings didn't have any luck.

The Leafs would kill off the game with a few minutes left in the third, as after Trevor Smith and David Booth nearly combined for an empty net goal of their own, Nazem Kadri would finish the game off on the next shift.

This wasn't all that was left in the game, as Brendan Smith decided to be a giant baby about a couple of hits, taking the opportunity to take a baseball swing at Panik's stomach, then broke his stick with a cross-check to his shoulder, and then Panik just beat the crap out of him. Maybe Brendan Smith should just leave people from Slovakia alone.

Stray Thoughts

Jonathan Bernier played pretty well, including a few exceptional saves. Facing 28 shots the HNIC crew seemed to be of the opinion that this was a "light" evening's work and he should play again tomorrow night. You know what? Don't get cute here. 28 shots is only a light night because the Leafs are typically horrendous at preventing shots against. It's a back-to-back and the Los Angeles Kings are coming into town. Don't mess around and just play Reimer. You can go back to Bernier in mid-week.

Dion Phaneuf appeared to have some sort of minor leg injury in the second period, it looked like it could have potentially been a skate cut. He seemed fine but something to consider if his minutes seem a little low tomorrow. Also, I loved Johan Franzen's little slash that ended in the offsetting penalties with Phil Kessel Such a sneaky little heel move.

Toronto controlled the game and outshot the Red Wings 41-28. The Red Wings won 42 faceoffs to the Leafs' 17. At one point in the first, the Red Wings had an 11-0 edge in faceoffs but were being outshot 8-3. Faceoffs don't matter. Certain faceoffs matter, but until analysts address this I'll continue to ridicule it.

The Leafs played a strong home game and kept their boots on the throat of a tired team. Tomorrow is a real test since the Leafs are playing their fourth game in six days against the Kings.

Game in Six