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>>caption: DANCING WITH THE LEAFS --
PRIMEAU (M) CELEBRATES A RARE GOAL<<
@ TORONTO, ONT:
The Red Wings' visit to Toronto Saturday
night was no more successful than the Pistons'
trip to the Air Canada Centre Wednesday.
The rare "Original Six" match-up on "Hall
of Fame" night in T-O saw the Maple Leafs
skate to a 5-1 decision.
The 3-game win streaks of both the Red
Wings and goaltender Chris Osgood ended.
Worse, the lengthening list of serious injuries to Detroit forwards added another
victim to the list when Jason Williams was lost to a broken right fibula after landing
awkwardly off a Jeff Finger check 8-mins into the 2nd-Per.
Playing their second game in two different locations in back-to-back nights,
the Maple Leafs nevertheless appeared to be the team on fresher legs.
Playing back-to-back games in goal for the first time in his NHL career, Toronto
rookie goalie Jonas Gustavsson showed how he earned his nickname in Europe by
making "Monster" saves when the game was still in doubt. Detroit out-shot Toronto
in each period and 36-28 in the game.
Dan Cleary (#2) got the only Detroit goal, the 100th of his NHL career, briefly
getting the Wings within 3-1 at 5:59/3. Cleary took a soft up-ice pass from Brian
Rafalski to wrister into the net when the Red Wings caught Toronto in a line change.
Cleary snapped a 12 game goal-less streak, his last lamp-lighter coming in the season's
second contest OCT 3RD in Sweden.
An even longer drought was ended with the game's opening goal. Wayne Primeau
scooped a quick outlet pass to go on a solo rush and score on wrister from the lower
right circle at 10:34/1. The goal was the first by Primeau this season, in fact his
first in 45 games. It was also the first time this season the Maple Leafs had scored
first in a home game.
Off the injured list for just five days, prized Toronto off-season acquisition
Phil Kessel got his first goal in a Leafs sweater by tapping in a Jason Blake rebound
that was behind Osgood on the blue ice at 19:34/1.
Finger (#1) made it 3-0 Leafs at 5:21/2. The defenseman joined the rush and
sent a neat wrist shot to the top right corner. Technically it was an even strength
goal, but in effect it was a shorthanded tally as Blake was just stepping out of the
After Cleary's goal, John Mitchell (#2) got a power play tip-in of Kessel's shot
at 9:22/3 and Alexi Ponikarovsky (#6) a short side backhander at 12:44/3 for the
It was a tough night on the blueline for Wings DEF Brett Lebda, who got out
of position to screen Osgood on the first and last Leafs goals.
RED WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK: "I thought their goaltending was strong...
Obviously, we got out-played. They were quicker...We're going to have to do a
real good job defensively, we're going to have to get good goaltending and have
good special teams [in order to cope with three key forwards being out for extended
R-WINGS DEF/CAPT NICKLAS LIDSTROM: "We didn't really respond well as a team
when they got those two [1st-Per] goals."
R-WINGS DEF BRAD STUART: "We didn't come out and play very well from the
beginning. We just didn't seem committed to doing things right."
R-WINGS FWD KRIS DRAPER: "We had a game plan...We got away from that early
and it cost us."
Seventeen members of the Hockey Hall of Fame were introduced prior to the game
as were the members of the 2009 HHOF Class, which will be inducted Monday in Toronto.
The 17 former greats were led onto the ice by 1950s Red Wing Captain Ted Lindsay and
the Class of '09 intros concluded with the loudest ovation of the ceremony for 3-time
Stanley Cup winning Detroit Capt. Steve Yzerman. Other ex-Wing HoF members
introduced were DEFs Bill Gadsby, Marcel Pronovost & Borje Salming and coach Scotty
Bowman. Among those joining Yzerman as this year's inductees are ex-Red Wings Brett
Hull and Luc Robitaille. Brett Hull will join father Bobby Hull (also introduced Saturday)
in the Hall.
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